Background: Benefits of sprint interval training performed in hypoxia (SIH) compared to normoxia (SIN) have been assessed by studies mostly conducted around 3000 m of simulated altitude. The present study aims to determine whether SIH at an altitude as high as 4000 m can elicit greater adaptations than the same training at 2000 m, 3000 m or sea-level. Methods: Thirty well-trained endurance male athletes (18–35 years old) participated in a six-week repeated sprint interval training program (30 s all-out sprint, 4 min 30 s recovery; 4–9 repetitions, 2 sessions/week) at sea-level (SL, n
= 8), 2000 m (Fi
= 8), 3000 m (Fi
= 7) or 4000 m (Fi
= 7). Aerobic and anaerobic exercise components were evaluated by an incremental exercise test, a 600 kJ time trial and a Wingate test before and after the training program. Results: After training, peak power output (PPO) during the incremental exercise test increased (~6%) without differences between groups. The lactate threshold assessed by Dmax increased at 2000 m (+14 ± 12 W) and 4000 m (+12 ± 11 W) but did not change at SL and 3000 m. Mean power during the Wingate test increased at SL, 2000 m and 4000 m, although peak power increased only at 4000 m (+38 ± 38 W). Conclusions: The present study indicates that SIH using 30 s sprints is as efficient as SIN for improving aerobic and anaerobic qualities. Additional benefits such as lactate-related adaptations were found only in SIH and Wingate peak power only increased at 4000 m. This finding is of particular interest for disciplines requiring high power output, such as in very explosive sports.
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