The effects of hyperoxia on repeated sprint cycling performance & muscle fatigue

J Sci Med Sport. 2019 Dec;22(12):1344-1348. doi: 10.1016/j.jsams.2019.07.001. Epub 2019 Jul 11.


Objectives: Hyperoxia (>21% oxygen) can evoke performance improvements in aerobic and anaerobic exercise. The aims of the current study were to determine the effects of breathing hyperoxic gas (fraction of inspired oxygen [FiO2] 1.00) on repeated cycle performance, and to assess the nature and extent of fatigue after intermittent sprinting.

Design & methods: Testing (n=14 males) comprised two visits to the laboratory. Each session involved 10×15s repeated cycle sprints breathing FiO2 1.00 (hyperoxia) or FiO2 0.21 (normoxia). Muscle fatigue was measured pre and post sprints using Maximal Voluntary Contraction (MVC), voluntary activation (VA) and potentiated doublet twitch (PTF). Blood lactate (BLa) was taken between sprints. Paired samples t-tests were used to examine difference between conditions in power output (peak and mean Watts) and BLa. Two-way ANOVA was used to examine fatigue variables pre and post sprints according to condition.

Results: Mean power output was 4% greater in hyperoxia (p<0.01), with no difference in peak power (p>0.05). There was a significant increase in BLa in hyperoxia compared with normoxia (p<0.01) in sprints 4 and 8, as well as meaningful difference in sprints 4-10. There was no significant difference in fatigue factors (MVC, VA and PTF) (p>0.05) in response to the cycling, although a large drop in PTF occurred in both conditions.

Conclusion: Hyperoxia can elicit improvements in mean cycling power, with no significant change in post exercise muscle fatigue. Hyperoxia as a training aid may provide performance enhancing effects during repeated sprint cycling by reducing concurrent muscle fatigue, primarily via peripheral factors.

Keywords: Lactate; Oxygen; Power; Sprinting; Training.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Bicycling / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hyperoxia*
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Muscle Fatigue*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Oxygen / administration & dosage
  • Young Adult


  • Lactic Acid
  • Oxygen