This week, we take a moment to review the Elevation Training Mask 2.0. Check out that review below or watch the battle of the masks in our Elevation Training 1.0 vs Elevation Training Mask 2.0 here.
Item: Elevation Training Mask 2.0
Price: $91 USD
Manufacturer: Training Mask
The Elevation Training Mask 2.0 is essentially a mask that covers your face and controls the amount of oxygen going it your body. The ideal is simple: restrict the amount of oxygen into your body to make workouts more difficult, and improve your overall fitness.
This latest model is an updated version of the original Elevation Training Mask, which was a lot bigger in size and less practical for functional fitness athletes. We reviewed the original Mask over a year ago and had mixed results with it, so we were keen to see what improvements were made to the second version.
The Elevation Training Mask 2.0 uses a number of valves and plastic caps to control the amount of air coming into your body, with tougher settings for advances users, and easier settings for beginners. Just like the original Training Mask, there are some theories that suggest the 2.0 version can increase your red blood cell count, your overall cardiovascular ability and your lung capacity.
I’ve used the mask for the past year and had some good and bad results when using it. So here is a closer look at what I liked about the mask, what I didn’t like, my overall conclusion, and whether or not you should buy the Elevation Training Mask 2.0.
It works: As soon as you put the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 on your face you will notice your breathing is restricted. You should find it tougher to get oxygen into your system, you should find breathing a lot harder, and you should find yourself concentrating more on your air flow, inhaling and exhaling. When you use the mask for the first time you may encounter a period of panic in the first few minutes – It’s quite common for beginners to want to rip the mask off their face to get some much-needed oxygen. However, the more you use the mask, the more comfortable you will be with it, and the less you will panic while wearing it. Either way, the mask definitely controls the amount of oxygen into your system, and you will certainly feel the difference while wearing it.
Visibility: The mask provides a tight fit around your nose and mouth, but it doesn’t cover your eyes, meaning your vision is not affected. Unlike the original Training Mask, the 2.0 allows you to maintain peripheral vision while working out, and there are no restrictions to your vision. While wearing it, you should be able to clearly see up, down and sideways without a problem. In functional fitness you need your peripheral vision so that exercises like box jumps, O-lifting, pull-ups, muscle-ups, handstand push-ups and other skills don’t become hazardous. I did a number of functional fitness workouts while wearing the mask and never really felt like my vision was affected.
Fit: The Elevation Training Mask 2.0 comes in three different sizes: small, medium and large. Personally, I’ve found the mask to fit perfectly around my head and have never had any issues with it falling off during workouts, or even moving out of position. The elastic straps make it easier to find the perfect fit, and you won’t have any issues with your hair getting caught while putting it on and taking it off. However, if you do find the mask to be a little loose on your head, there is also a head strap you can use to make the mask more stable while working out.
Size: One of the great features of the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 is its size. The mask is literally small enough to fit in your pocket and won’t take up much room in your gym or training bag. It’s also easy to scrunch up and keep stored away in tight places like a glove box in your car, or a drawer at your work desk. The size makes the mask very accessible and easy to use.
Confusing: The Elevation Training Mask 2.0 comes with a user manual and a DVD with all the information on how it works. However, the mask can still be a bit confusing to use. Changing the settings from an easier level to harder one (and vice-versa) isn’t as easy as just switching over a cap. The mask comes with seven individual caps and three valves, all of which work together to create different settings. Sometimes you might have to turn a valve up the other way to get a desired setting, and some combinations don’t work with other combinations. Basically, I found myself referring to the user manual every time I wanted to change the settings, making it tedious and annoying. It can also be frustrating when you are in the middle of a workout and realise you have the mask on an unwanted setting. There is nothing worse than having to stop your workout just to read a user manual!
Appearance: How often do you see people training in a mask? Not often. And when you do, it’s fair to say they stand out a lot. The reality is, when you use the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 at your CrossFit affiliate, you will probably have people staring at you and calling you names like Bane from Batman. Personally. I was a bit hesitant to wear the mask while training at my box, running around my block, or even bike riding in my neighbourhood, purely because of its appearance. If you are going to buy the Elevation Training Mask 2.0, be aware there may be some social settings where you might stand out a bit when using it.
Cleanliness: The inside of the mask is actually quite small, which is great for some things, but not so good for cleanliness. While working out, it can often become hot and humid inside the mask, which may result in a lot of moisture from sweat and saliva. Without going into too much detail, the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 is not as clean as some people might hope it to be. So all you ‘Germaphobes’ out there, it might be something worth noting.
Fidgety: As mentioned before, the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 comes with seven small caps, and three valves. The caps are made from plastic and could break easily if you don’t take care of them. In addition, these pieces are also very small and can be lost or misplaced quite easily. I found all these pieces annoying to carry and often had to scrounge through my gym bag after misplacing some of them.
Personally, I had some really good experiences with the Elevation Training Mask 2.0. I found it gave me an extra element to my training and made my workouts a lot harder. I also found myself focusing more on my breathing and using my abdominal muscles more while wearing the mask.
For MMA fighters or jiu-jitsu enthusiasts, the mask is a great product and it will teach you to control your breathing and to cope better in situations where your oxygen intake might be reduced. For example, the training mask might help you feel more comfortable while being ‘choked–out’. Likewise, if you are used to running at high altitudes it might help too.
All up, I think the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 has a number of positives. However, does it really increase your red blood cell count? Does it really improve your overall cardiovascular ability? And does it really improve lung function? Without being put under a clinical trial and having my blood tested, I don’t think it does.
During my 12 months using the mask, I didn’t notice a massive increase in my fitness or my overall lung capacity, and I can honestly tell you I didn’t notice any major improvements in my overall performance. While you will still get some benefits from using the mask, don’t buy it expecting to see phenomenal results.
So in a nutshell, is the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 worth buying? If you are an elite CrossFitter or fitness professional, then yeah, it’s a great tool. For $90 it’s a great addition for any gym bag and will add an extra element to your training. But for the average functional fitness athlete, and for someone on a budget, I don’t think it is worth it.
If it’s price tag was $50, I’d be happy to pay the money for it, but for $90, I would prefer to spend my cash elsewhere.