Dwain Chambers' secret weapon

Thanks to quikazhell for this. What do you all think of the smokescreen of pimping Alto Lab Altitude Simulator, made by Pharma Pacific?


Novel training spurs Chambers to challenge Bolt

By Jonathan Littman, Yahoo! Sports Mar 9, 11:52 pm EDT

Yahoo! Sports


Dwain Chambers says Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative founder Victor Conte once supplied him with enough performance-enhancing drugs to “kill an elephant.” Seven years later, the world-class sprinter has partnered with Conte again, this time on an innovative – but legal – high-altitude training regimen that appears to deliver even better results than the drugs he took with abandon.

At the relatively advanced age of 30, Chambers shocked the world in Turin, Italy, last weekend, turning in the third-fastest time in history for the 60-meter dash in the semifinals of the European indoor championships, then took gold in Sunday’s final. He demonstrated that he might be the only man who can challenge Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt.

In an exclusive interview with Yahoo! Sports on the eve of the release of his tell-all autobiography that angered track officials to the point where they could ban him from competing again, Chambers discussed his alliance with Conte, his history of drug use and remarkable resurgence.

“I am completely and totally drug free,” Chambers said.

Such a proclamation might be met with skepticism by those familiar with his past – or even those who simply read his book. But he is tested frequently and has convinced Charles van Commenee, the new head coach of the British team.

“Actually, it’s quite a positive message if somebody who is obviously drug free is running these fast times,” van Commenee said. “You wonder why anybody would need to take something.”

Chambers’ continued relationship with Conte might raise eyebrows. But both men say their current collaboration to slice hundredths of a second off sprint performance is lawful. They embrace a technology called intermittent hypoxic training, the practice of alternately breathing low and high oxygen air for alternating durations of several minutes. Athletes breathe through a hypoxicator, a device that filters out oxygen to simulate high altitude, causing the body to begin making its own EPO (erythropoietin), the hormone that stimulates red blood cell production. Increased red blood cell count, even for a sprinter, reduces fatigue and recovery time during training.

Chambers is believed to be the first elite sprinter to try the training regimen, which he began in October.

“Dwain is absolutely blazing a new trail,” Conte said.

“When 38,000 fans cheered my name before the start, a shiver went down my spine. I got a bad start and then felt a twinge in my leg. Pop! Was there a sniper up there? I limped off the track clutching my hamstring. Except the hamstring was fine. I lied. It was the drug-induced cramps again.”

– Excerpt from Chambers’ book

Conte once gave elite athletes an edge with a performance-enhancing substance known as the Clear, which since 2004 has been classified as a steroid and can be detected in drug tests. Conceivably he could be supplying Chambers with fast-clearing drugs tough to detect by the testers, although doing so would seem reckless because federal authorities still monitor Conte’s activities in the seemingly never-ending BALCO investigation.

“The last time I gave any athlete performance-enhancing drugs was in August of 2003,” Conte said. “My days of wrongdoing ended the day of the BALCO raid.”

Despite Conte’s complicity in Chambers’ destructive drug use, the alliance between the two men did not end when authorities shuttered the BALCO operation. They remained in periodic contact and ramped up their partnership with the intermittent hypoxic training.

“The relationship really never went sour,” Chambers said. “I’ve forgiven him, he’s forgiven me. He opened my eyes to a lot of the ins-and-outs in track and in life.”

At an age most sprinters are nearing retirement, Chambers has mounted an extraordinary comeback. After serving a two-year doping ban that began in 2003 and failed attempts to play professional rugby and in NFL Europe, he appears rejuvenated.

His time of 6.42 in the 60-meter dash Saturday was .03 seconds outside Maurice Greene’s world mark and by the end of the weekend Chambers had the two fastest times in the world this year.

Chambers wants to dethrone the Jamaican superstar Bolt, saying, “It’s all about Project Bolt.” But this past weekend, the British press reported that track officials furious over the revelations in Chambers’ book might try to keep him off the track for good. Officials have said they may demand that before he runs another race he must repay the $170,000 in prize money he won while using illegal substances seven years ago.

Photo Dwain Chambers turned heads again in the track world when he ran a 6.42 in the 60-meter dash at the European indoor championships.
(Thomas Kienzle/Associated Press)

The controversy makes it even more noteworthy that he stuck by Conte in his return to world-class form. In “Race Against Me,” Chambers wrote that from 2002 to 2003 under Conte’s program he was a “walking junkie” who took “more than 300 different concoctions” of drugs that cost him $30,000 a year.

Serials of the book in Britain’s Sportsmail last week have created a firestorm in British track and field, as Chambers illuminated some of the inequity in the sport. Great Britain has banned him for life from the Olympics, while Justin Gatlin and other Americans who doped are free to return to the Games after they serve their bans. Chambers has also focused attention on athletes such as Britain’s 400 meter world and Olympic champion Christine Ohurogu, suspended a year for missing three drug tests: “I will go on record and say that any athlete who misses three tests has to be very naïve or has something to hide,” Chambers wrote.

Reached by telephone in Turin, Chambers said his book, “was an opportunity to get things off my chest. I realized it would ruffle feathers. They wanted answers – and they got them.”

Still, he seemed caught off guard by the swift reaction of British officials, who have called for an inquiry: “I didn’t expect it to create so much controversy.”

Said a spokesman for the United Kingdom Athletics: “We will hold an internal inquiry to see whether he has broken the athlete’s code of conduct.”

Said Chambers: “They’re not used to people telling the truth.”

If the sprinter seems unafraid of further sanctions, maybe it is because he already threw away the heart of a promising career. After testing positive for the steroid THG in 2003, suffering a two-year ban and what his former coach called blackballing by the top European track meet directors, Chambers has surprised even himself by returning to form.

“I almost threw away what God gave to me as a freebie,” Chambers said. “I took almost four years off. I’m curious what I can really do just on my natural talent. Maybe I can show youths that you don’t need to do [drugs].”

The air up there

High-altitude training has been widely employed for more than two decades by marathon runners, cyclists and other endurance athletes. Many Kenyan runners who have dominated long-distance events were born at high altitude and often trained at high elevations. More recently, Olympic coaches began a new form of altitude training called “live-high, train-low,” where athletes sleep at higher than 7,000 feet and train at sea level. In 2001, Nike launched the Oregon Project, an experiment to see what benefits would accrue for distance runners living in a hermetically sealed house in Portland that reduced oxygen to create the thin air found at 12,000 feet.

In the last few years a number of companies have introduced high-altitude tents and customized bedrooms used by cyclists, runners, rowers, soccer players and NBA stars. Once frowned upon by the World Anti-Doping Agency, these technologies are legal.

[b]Intermittent hypoxic training is an alternative to living or sleeping at high altitude. It involves alternately breathing oxygen-reduced air for 5-6 minutes through a mask or tube and then resting for 4-5 minutes by breathing normal ambient air. Track star Dwain Chambers has been using an Alto Lab Altitude Simulator, made by Pharma Pacific.

Intermittent training requires about an hour a day for about two weeks to create benefits. Last October, Chambers began the altitude training. “We’ve got a calendar, he’s got this notated,” BALCO founder Victor Conte said. “It’s a 15-day load.”

The first three days Chambers breathed air at 10,000 feet for five minutes and then rests for five minutes for about an hour daily. Then over the coming days the oxygen is thinned to 12,500 feet, and 15,000 feet. “The last six days Chambers went up to 20,000 feet,” Conte said.

Chambers’ resting heart rate climbs to over 110 beats per minute during the hour of intermittent breathing. He places his finger in a device that monitors his heart rate and blood oxygen levels. After a couple of weeks on the program, he takes a two-week respite and then repeats the protocol for five days every two weeks, which is called topping off. Conte, whose company is now called Scientific Nutrition for Advanced Conditioning (SNAC), has created a supplement called HypOxygen that he believes supports high altitude training, including iron, vitamins B, C, E, Selenium and L-Carnitine.[/b]

Chambers is certain to create even more controversy by his refusal to abandon Conte and his former coach, Remi Korchemny, who along with Conte and two others was an original defendant convicted in the investigation of the BALCO.

“[Conte] and Remi have filled in the space my father didn’t,” Chambers said. “They’ve given me time, attention and focus. I never had no father. They filled that gap.”

The London-based sprinter is coached by a former rival, Daniel Plummer, and lacks a training partner.

“[Korchemny] still helps as much as he can,” Chambers said. “We communicate. He wants to try and correct where we went wrong.”

Chambers’ unbroken faith in Conte and Korchemny is a bold choice for an internationally acclaimed athlete who despite the controversy has remained a celebrity in England, his trials and tribulations followed feverishly by the British media.

On the heels of the apparent collapse of the Barry Bonds perjury case – unlikely to go to trial for more than six months because of an 11th-hour government appeal – Chambers’ comeback is also something of a resurgence for Conte, who appears driven to prove his relevance in a new arena of legal performance enhancement.

[b][u]“This is the wave of the future,” Conte said. “Everyone used to think [simulated altitude training] was all about endurance athletes. No one thought of applying this to explosive sprinting.”

Chambers is a true believer. “This allows me to have a deeper training load. I suffer less lactic acid, delivering more oxygen to my muscles,” he said, laughing: “It’s a shame we didn’t know this five years ago.”[/u][/b]

Chambers had astounding talent before he said he took drugs. In 1999, at 21, he earned a silver medal on Britain’s 4x100 team at the World Championships. But how far Chambers’ ability alone will take him now – with the baggage of his past deeds – is questionable.

His book has raised questions about complicity by British officials in doping. The Daily Mail reported this past weekend, that the International Association of Athletics Federation, track and field’s governing body, will rule in two weeks whether Chambers’ book “has embarrassed the sport enough to warrant a disrepute charge, and what would effectively be a ban from athletics, including the World Championships in Berlin in August.”

But Chambers noted that his goal in speaking frankly is to help rid international track and field of drugs. He has a meeting scheduled later this month with Britain’s United Kingdom Athletics, “on how I could educate U.K sport.”

Even before the publication of his book, Chambers and other professional track and field athletes coming off doping suspensions have faced an uphill battle in returning to competition. The sprinter’s predicament raises questions about whether there is such a thing as a second chance for track and field athletes.

Last year, the directors of the half-dozen European Golden League track meets – events that make up the bulk of appearance fees and prize money for international track athletes – agreed to ban all athletes who previously had served a two-year doping ban. Reached by email, Patrick Magyar of Weltklasse Zurich, one of the Golden League meets, wrote that allowing past offenders to compete would “cause an irritation with the public.” As a meet director, he said: “We do not wish to give this money to athletes that have cheated in our sport.”

The IAAF might not be able to renege on the agreement it has already struck with Chambers, which stipulates that he pay the $170,000 in increments by having 25 percent of his winnings garnished. “That agreement is in black and white,” Chambers said.

Even if Chambers is not disciplined or a sponsor comes up with the cash to pay the bill, the sprinter faces an uphill road to compete regularly.

Chambers is resigned to the ban, saying, “It’s made life difficult. I have to race where I can, where I have opportunities.”

He long ago lost his lucrative Adidas sponsorship, and no other firms have stepped forward. Today he believes drugs may have made him slower, saying he was banned for a substance – THG – “that didn’t work for me.”

Chambers proved Sunday that he may be the world’s fastest man.

“My legs are going to have to do the talking,” he said. “I believe in my ability.”

But then again, his words haven’t exactly been dull.

“What is there to say? I’ve given them everything they wanted,” he said. “They can have a read once the book is out. This BALCO [doping] saga and me are done.”

Do they sell those things on ebay??
I’m wondering what kind of CNS reaction there is to training with such low oxygen levels considering you’re losing alertness once you pass about 10,000 feet…

A chinese shoe brand would fit him well…there are US and asia meetings, plus all national " non invitational"…and then, if they do not let him compete, I suggest the European court of Justice.
About High altitude, would be interesting to investigate…I hope he still continues to tray himself and or with Plummer…Korchemny has not so much to give him…except some stick drills maybe:)

A buddy of mine started using this for the first time exactly a year ago.
We shall see the results this summer :slight_smile: (400m)
As for now, he says training is going very well, no crazy PB’s, but his recoveries are heaps better.

(The only drawback using it in a hot climate during the summer, is sleeping in a plastic tent at night … )

This thing Chambers is using is like a water bottle that you breathe into for various periods of time w/ planned breaks for 1hr total per day for a few weeks then do a maintenance program of less frequency and length after that.

Yes, my friend has that as well (I’ve tried it too) in addition to the tent where he sleeps in (yes, he spent some money… :)). All same philosophy.

I think there may be more to this than acclimatizing to altitude.
The intermittent use may cause rapid shifts in pulse rates and may affect cell metabolism as described by believers in interferrometry for cell recovery and regeneration.
This rapid pulse shift can be achieved in some other novel ways. One is Breath deprivation. (described to me- and I’ve tried it) I was given max bursts on a exercise bike with a complete stop in between followed by a final rep in each series where you blow all air out and go as long as possible. Then you are told to sit right down to get the pulse rate down as rapidly as possible. A very interesting concept that might also relate to lactate tolerance.
I was also told that Kratochvilova and Kocembova were told to sit in a tuck position after special end runs to get the lactic acid up as high as possible.

Why would he think he needs both?

He uses the mask with an exercise bike (similar to the way Charlie describes above), and the tent to sleep in at nights, for maximum results.
We had talked (I am saying “we” because I was the median english-speaker for the whole buying process… ) to an altitude training expert who was recommending what he should buy to emulate altitude training as much as possible.

Of course he would try to sell everything on his list, but the mask/bike creates exercise tolerance, while the tent enhances recovery and adaptation on a broader sense. And you get maximum altitude exposure.

This athlete’s main concerning was also raising the red blood cells (hematocrit), which obviously has improved since and he feels generally more rested.

that would be my thinking as well. If my idea is right the tent wouldn’t help and might even reduce the effectiveness and even if the concept only relates to the alt aspect, the interval approach should work over enough time without the tent

cant this effect be simulated with a power breath device?

charlie one of our 4 coaches advocates the sit cross legged position for lactic tolerance in the gym. Min of hard circuit followed by 3 min sit then repeat

It plays a role in shifting the ANS as well but I can’t remember which way.

So is there a benefit to allowing the lactic acid to buld further and hang around in the muscle.

I was previously taught to believe tha you had to get rid of the lactic acid as early as possible with some steady movements. Some people say “stay on your feet” betweent the running reps and weight training reps.
Dan Pfaff didn’t want the lactic acid to be hanging around for too long in his athletes either.

So what’s the deal? Would it be a good idea to incorperate both methods (at different times?)

depends entirely on what you’re trying to work. If you are working to enhance lactic tolerance, this is helpful for your SE session, and has the benefit of reducing the need for separate SE and lactic tolerance sessions, but if you’re trying to enhance alactic qualities, you’d steer clear of this for that particular session.
That said, the line is a bit blurred and occasional SE sessions like this might shift the line before lactic sets in and help you stay in alactic conditions longer BUT it might also work the other way!
I suspect the former because Marita Koch improved in both 100 and 400 in lock-step till 1983 and might have officially improved her 100 if she’d competed there up to 1985 (she did unofficially lower her 200 to 21.56 in a time trial in 1985). I simply don’t know for sure but perhaps PJ has seen something in the East German literature to suggest a definitive answer.

Chambers is obsessed with bolt. I hope he doesnt start tapping his practices.

charlie what would you suggest is a typical alactic session and lactic session for a 200 400 runner

You can see my proposed sessions of both S-to-L and L-to-S for 400m on the Edmonton download.
I try to think in terms of Speed and Special Endurance rather than lactic or alactic assuming if you improve your performance in those areas the other qualities must follow.
The S-to-L is similar to a program I used in 1984 with a girl who had missed a significant amount of prep time but went on to run 50.22E for her split in the Olympic relay for Silver. Although directed at 400, she also knocked off .6 from her 200m PB and .35 from her 100m PB.
The L-to-S shown was used directly on a girl who had a big PB in Beijing.

From the man himself who posted this…

IHT (Intermittent Hypoxic Training) is much different than using high altitude training or “live high / train low” or even training in a low oxygen tent or room. IHT involves a portable breathing device and is done while sitting in a relaxed state. The intervals of low oxygen and ambient air are about five minutes of each for about 60-90 minutes per day. Some adjustments in the time intervals and oxygen percentage progression can be made for each athlete. The base phase is about 15 -20 days. Each session is like another workout, so they are best done on light training days or off days. This is especially true on the days when using the equivalent of the hightest elevations. The oxygen percentages used are lower than what is used with the tents. The starting point is usually the equivalent of 10,000 ft and gradually climbs up to 20,000 ft or even higher. There are also more than ten specific nutrients that should be consumed at different dosages in conjunction with the various stages of IHT. These techniques and nutritional protocols can even cause the growth of new blood capillaries. IHT not only aids in the transport of oxygen and nutrients to muscle tissue, but also significantly delays the onset of blood lactate accumulation by accelerating the removal of metabolic waste byproducts. In short, there seems to be a significant amount of potential for this technology to be of benefit to world-class sprinters. Stay tuned.

Koch focus on 100m/200m in 1983 because injuries prevented her to go any further in the speed endurance development. She ran 7.08 at 60m indoors, and outdoors 10.83 for 100m, 21.82 for 200m and in relay 400m anchor leg 48.55. Her best flying 30m that year was 2.86.

1985 was the year she broke the 400m WR to 47.60, she improved indoors to 7.04 (WIR), then outdoors she ran 10.97 (w-0.3) in August in a rare attempt. At 200m, Charlie mentions 21.56 time trial before the World Cup which is in accordance with 21.78 in August (wind -1.3), also 21.90 in October in lane 1 (w-0.7) at World Cup 2 days before the 400m WR. Her flying 30m was 2.86 which equaled her lifetime best when she was focusing on short sprints in 1983, so her speed in 1985 was at her highest level the year she set her last 400m WR.
By the way, Koch had one of the lowest blood lactate level after competition races from 60m to 400m among the GDR crew.
What’s your take on that?