Your view is narrow, your focus is precise, your breathing is measured and paced. You’re 18,000 ft. above sea level and you’re struggling to get a good breath in. Your workout concludes and you remember that you aren’t high in the mountains reenacting a scene from Rocky 4 and you are certainly not training to fight Ivan Drago, hopefully.
Instead, you have just completed a workout with the Training Mask.
This compact device is as simplistic as it is effective and using it was truly a joy.
At first, I opened the package for my Training Mask and immediately noticed the sleek design. A matte black cover over a rubber mouth piece and white modifiers in a triangular pattern on the front.
Half the fun of getting new workout equipment is having gear that looks cool and this is a welcome collection to a professional looking collection. As I said before, it is quite simplistic looking, in a good way. The first version of the mask looked like a cold-war era gas mask and enveloped your entire face. This one takes some of the claustrophobia away. I used a few family members with known claustrophobia as guinea pigs and while they were apprehensive to hinder their breathing at first, they were able to adapt, given the small surface area covered by the mask, and were able to have some fun with it.
When it came to the fitting, I was pleasantly surprised. The rubber face piece sits perfectly on your face and contours to really any sized face. Without having to rely on a chin line or cheek structure, the Training Mask sits firmly around the front of the nose, then hugs your chin to create a very light yet reaffirming suction to make sure that no air is escaping to maximize the effects. It straps at the top of your neck right where spine meets skull, in the back of your head with a velcro fastener and two holes that trap your ears in place without being uncomfortable.
The mask also comes with 6 plastic modifiers that mimic the effects of different altitudes. They range from 3,000-18,000 ft. in increments of 3,000 and each new level brings a new sense of challenge with the contrast in breathing difficulty between the minimum and maximum being as stark as can be.
Before I get in to the actual workout aspects of the Training Mask, I’d like to begin with an off-label use: meditation. With the stressors of a busy work week coupled with a week full of midterms and preparing for Spring break, a headache crept its way to my brain and truly put a damper on each of my days. Then I had an idea for the mask. Placing the elevation level at 18,000 ft. I sat in my apartment and meditated.
The fact that the sound of your breath is amplified by the Training Mask, makes concentrating on it much easier. I found my mind wandering a lot less because of this. I wasn’t able to forget about my breathing now and fell in to a state of clear-mindedness a lot faster than I normally would have.
For actual workouts, I harken back to the claim in bold on the front of the package that claims that the Training Mask turns a 60 minute workout in to a 20 minute workout. I found this out very quickly. Doing light work on the elliptical became a chore and felt that I had complete a full circuit as I stepped off the machine in half the time that I usually do. I peeled off the mask and let in a huge, deep breath that rewarded my senses.
The same effects occurred during any intense interval training or muay thai sessions. The mask came through and made me earn the last few minutes of each, while again rewarding me with a new kind of workout whose results were felt tenfold.
The mask has garnered a huge following among those who train and also among fighters who often praise the mask’s effects on their training camps just leading up to a fight. Wanderlei Silva, Johny Hendricks, and Diego Sanchez are all fighters who not only use the mask and sing its praises, but who are also all known to be able to turn it on well in to the later rounds of a fight.
You can purchase the Training Mask here and shop its collection of alternate covers which changes the appearance.
From national flags, to branches of the military, to ones that mimic Bane from Batman and Sub Zero from the Mortal Kombat series, you can look as badass as the mask makes you feel.
Since having used it, I feel more focused under pressure, even without it, knowing what I am capable of even with limited air flow. This makes it feel as though you’re a super hero without it, consuming all the oxygen around you to power through the day.
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