The effects of endurance training in normoxia or in hypoxia on time to exhaustion ( T(lim)) at the work rate corresponding to peak oxygen uptake (VO(2peak)) were examined at sea level in 13 healthy subjects. Before and after training the subjects performed the following: (1) incremental exercises up to exhaustion to determine peak oxygen uptake in normoxia (VO(2peak)N), the percentage of this value at the 4 mmol l(-1) blood lactate concentration (VO(2)4%N) and the work rate corresponding to VO(2peak)N (Pa(peak)N), (2) a 5-min 90% Pa(peak)N exercise followed by a 10-min passive recovery to determine the maximal blood lactate concentration (La(max)) measured during the recovery, and (3) a T(lim) at Pa(peak)N. Training consisted of pedalling 2 h a day, 6 days a week, for 4 weeks. Five subjects trained in normobaric hypoxia [HT; partial pressure of inhaled oxygen ( P(I)O(2)) 89 mmHg] and eight subjects trained at the same relative work rates in normoxia (NT; P(I)O(2) 141 mmHg). The training-induced improvement of all the measured parameters were closely matched between the HT and the NT ( P>0.05). Training increased T(lim) by 59.7% [164(40) s]. The value of T(lim) was related to VO(2)4%N and to La(max) before and after training. Also, the training-induced improvement of T(lim) was related to the concomitant decrease in La(max). It is concluded that: (1) endurance training including continuous high-intensity exercises improves T(lim) for exercises performed at the same relative (higher absolute) work rate after training, (2) intermittent hypoxic training has no potentiating effect on T(lim) as compared with training in normoxia, and (3) the intra-individual training-induced improvement of T(lim) was associated with metabolic alteration in relation to lactate accumulation.
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