Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

The effects of continuous vs intermittent oxygen supplementation on repeat sprint cycling performance

Michael Stewart Porter, Katherine Reed



The use of handheld cannisters providing supplementary oxygen to use ‘track side’ is becoming popular. The aim of this study was to determine the optimal time to administer oxygen supplementation (O2Supp) during a repeat sprint protocol on cycling performance. Ten male recreationally active University students participated. Testing comprised four visits to the laboratory in a counterbalanced design. Each session entailed ten x 15s repeated sprints interspersed with 45s passive recovery, during which the air inspired was either 100% oxygen (H) or normal air, (N), thus the oxygen content inspired during the sprints and/or the recovery periods, determined the four conditions; NH, HN, HH, NN respectively. It was hypothesised that the HH condition would evoke the largest performance improvements. Repeated measures ANOVA were used to examine the difference between conditions in the outcome measures of mean power (W), rate of power decline (%) and blood lactate (mmol·L-1). There was no significant effect of O2Supp on mean power (W), blood lactate or performance decline (%) (p > .05), although. the HH condition did result in the lowest levels of lactate accumulation and the shallowest decline in performance. The NH and HN conditions resulted a greater decline in performance than both HH and NN. Continuous O2Supp during repeat sprint cycling is more effective on cycling performance, than when it is administered in short repeated bouts. It appears that the rapid changing of oxygen availability may have a detrimental effect on performance. O2Supp can be applied to training programmes that have extended (>1min) periods of recovery.


Oxygen supplementation; Sports medicine; Physiology; Interval training; Sports performance


Alberti. (1977). The biochemical consequences of hypoxia. Journal of Clinical Pathology, S3-11, 14-20.

Amann. (2011). Central and peripheral fatigue: Interaction during cycling exercise in humans. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(11), 2039-2045.

Author. (2019). No Title. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

Balsom, Ekblom, and Sjodin. (1994). Enhanced oxygen availability during high intensity intermittent exercise decreases anaerobic metabolite concentrations in blood. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 150(4), 455-456.

Buchheit, Abbiss, Peiffer, and Laursen. (2012). Performance and physiological responses during a sprint interval training session: Relationships with muscle oxygenation and pulmonary oxygen uptake kinetics. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 112(2), 767-779.

Cardinale, Larsen, Lännerström, Manselin, Södergård, Mijwel, Lindholm, Ekblom, and Boushel. (2019). Influence of Hyperoxic-Supplemented High-Intensity Interval Training on Hemotological and Muscle Mitochondrial Adaptations in Trained Cyclists. Frontiers in Physiology, 10(June), 1-12.

Cohen. (1988). Statistical Power Analysis for the Behavioural Sciences. In Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (2nd ed., Vol. 2). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Glaister. (2005). Multiple sprint work: Physiological responses, mechanisms of fatigue and the influence of aerobic fitness. Sports Medicine, 35(9), 757-777.

Hauser, Zinner, Born, Wehrlin, and Sperlich. (2014). Does hyperoxic recovery during cross-country skiing team sprints enhance performance? Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 46(4), 787-794.

Hogan, Cox, and Welch. (1983). Lactate accumulation during incremental with varied inspired oxygen fractions exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 55(4), 1134-1140.

Hogan, Haseler, and Richardson. (1999). Human Muscle Performance and PCr hydrolysis with varied Inspired Oxygen Fractions: A 31P-MRS Study. Journal of Applied Physiology, 86(4), 1367-1373.

Karpovich. (1934). The Effect of Oxygen Inhalation on Swimming Performance. Research Quarterly. American Physical Education Association, 5(2), 24-30.

Linossier, Dormois, Arsac, … Lacour. (2000). Effect of hyperoxia on aerobic and anaerobic performances and muscle metabolism during maximal cycling exercise. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 168(3), 403-411.

Lumb, and Horner. (2013). Chapter 25 - Pulmonary Physiology. In Physiology and Pharmacology for Anesthesia. Elsevier Inc.

Macdonald, Pedersen, and Hughson. (1997). Acceleration of VO2 kinetics in heavy submaximal exercise by hyperoxia and prior high-intensity exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 83(4), 1318-1325.

Mach, Thimmesch, Pierce, and Pierce. (2011). Consequences of Hyperoxia and the Toxicity of Oxygen in the Lung. Nursing Research and Practice, 2011, 1-7.

Maeda, and Yasukouchi. (1998). Blood lactate disappearance during breathing hyperoxic gas after exercise in two different physical fitness groups--on the workload fixed at 130% AT. In Journal of Physiological Anthropology (Vol. 17, Issue 2, pp. 33-40).

Mallette, Stewart, and Cheung. (2018). The Effects of Hyperoxia on Sea-Level Exercise Performance, Training, and Recovery: A Meta-Analysis. Sports Medicine, 48(1), 153-175.

Murray, K., Sommerville, A., McKenna, M., Edgar, G., & Murray, A. (2016). Normobaric hyperoxia training in elite female hockey players. The Journal of sports medicine and physical fitness, 56(12), 1488–1493.

Nummela, Hämäläinen, and Rusko. (2002). Effect of hyperoxia on metabolic responses and recovery in intermittent exercise. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports, 12(5), 309-315.

Pedersen, Kiens, and Saltin. (1999). Hyperoxia does not increase peak muscle oxygen uptake in small muscle group exercise. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 166(4), 309-318.

Sperlich, B., Zinner, Krueger, Wegrzyk, Mester, and Holmberg. (2011). Ergogenic effect of hyperoxic recovery in elite swimmers performing high-intensity intervals. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports.

Sperlich, Billy, Zinner, Hauser, Holmberg, and Wegrzyk. (2017). The Impact of Hyperoxia on Human Performance and Recovery. Sports Medicine, 47(3), 429-438.

Stellingwerff, LeBlanc, Hollidge, Heigenhauser, and Spriet. (2006). Hyperoxia decreases muscle glycogenolysis, lactate production, and lactate efflux during steady-state exercise. American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism, 290(6), E1180-E1190.

Vanhatalo, Fulford, Dimenna, and Jones. (2010). Influence of hyperoxia on muscle metabolic responses and the power-duration relationship during severe-intensity exercise in humans: A 31P magnetic resonance spectroscopy study. Experimental Physiology, 95(4), 528-540.

Welch, Bonde-petersen, Graham, Klausen, and Secher. (1977). Effects of hyperoxia on leg blood flow and metabolism during exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 42, 385-390.

World Anti Doping Agency. (2009). World Anti Doping Agency. World Anti-Doping Code 2010.

Zinner, Hauser, Born, Wehrlin, Holmberg, and Sperlich. (2015). Influence of hypoxic interval training and hyperoxic recovery on muscle activation and oxygenation in connection with double-poling exercise. PLoS ONE, 10(10), 1-12.


Copyright (c) 2018 Journal of Human Sport and Exercise

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.