It might seem counterintuitive to wear a mask while working out, you need as much oxygen as possible and masks just seem a bit off. However, apart from training your muscles, you need to train your lungs, and this is where the best training masks come into play.
Specially designed for cyclists, bodybuilders and runners, training masks use a valve system that reduces the amount of airflow in your lungs forcing you to take deeper breaths. This results in increased fitness and athletic performance. We’ve rounded up some of the best training masks that are specifically designed to keep your humble lungs stronger than your muscles.
The Best Training Mask
The first entry on our list of the best training mask brings is TRAININGMASK 2.0 Elevation Training Mask, which comes with the power of conditioning and training needed for your workout. The manufacturers note that this training mask will help improve respiration and breathing, and the product itself sure looks like it has the type of build to make that happen.
For capabilities, this option doesn’t come in short-handed. With a patented flux valve system, the mask does just enough to add friction to the air you inhale, loading the respiratory muscles. Thanks to the increased respiratory power and stronger breathing, you will find that your muscles can contribute to your balance and stamina. Moving on, the mask provides Respiratory Muscle Training (RMT), allowing you to sustain high-intensity exertion for a much more extended period. It also enhances the capacity of the lungs, helping you to take a deeper breath and release energy much more spontaneously. This sports training mask has a head strap, which ensures you don’t have to deal with sudden slips. It holds firmly on your face, so you can achieve a secure fit while you work out. If you love working out, check out our guide to the best heart rate monitors.
Respiratory Muscle Training
Flux Valve System
Six graded resistance levels
- Weight0.8 pounds
It comes with a headlock
Makes it easy to control the amount of air that you have access to
It’s not easy to clean and get rid of sweat
The Sparthos High Altitude Workout Mask has a unique look. As opposed to a lot of workout masks that feature valves and breathing holes, the manufacturers of this product chose to ditch those features in exchange for a much simpler and minimalist design.
As for features, this sports training mask improves the efficiency of your workouts by stimulating high altitude. The mask is designed to help you take deeper breaths, forcing you to strengthen your respiratory system and diaphragm.
16 breathing levels to challenge your body
Lungs work harder to oxygenate blood
Easy to apply and adjust without removing mask
Slip-resistant and ergonomic design
Restricts both inhaling and exhaling
- Weight0.9 pounds
Accommodative valve system
It works for just about every workout routine
Not everyone is a fan of its minimalistic design
Designed to simulate the challenging effects of training at altitude, this TEC adjustable training mask is easy to use and can really take your training to a whole new level. Whether you are a cyclist, runner, athlete, or perhaps a footballer, incorporating this style of exercise into your program can really develop lung capacity and boost physical strength and endurance.
With 16 adjustable levels, you can simulate heights ranging from 4,000 to 18,000 just by wearing this mask to workout. It’s comfortable and lightweight to wear and highly breathable too plus it has an ultra-silent feature to help minimize the noise from your breathing. It’s lightweight and slip-resistant, so it won’t fall off while you’re exercising. TEC has also supplied a hard case so that you can take your training mask with you and protect it from damage whenever you travel.
16 levels of resistance to simulate high altitude hypoxic training
Fully adjustable with a non-slip stay-put design
Lightweight, comfortable and anatomic unisex design
Supplied with a hard case to protect during transit
Ultra-silent features minimize noise from breathing
- Weight14.4 ounces
The brand might not be famous, but there’s some intense philosophy behind their operation. As its name goes, Vikingstrength was founded on and inspired by the immense strength that has become more or less synonymous with the Vikings and the rest of the old Scandinavians.
24 levels of resistance for high altitude simulation
Scandinavian designed and used by competitive athletes
Conveniently switch resistance without removing the mask
Technology makes mask perfect for beginners through to advanced professionals
Adjustable fit unisex design with flexible medical grade silicone
- Weight0.25 pounds
The lightweight design helps improve workout efficiency
The mask is versatile, as it supports various workout forms
You might need some time before you get maximum resistance with the mask
While BASE CAMP Dust/Pollution Mask isn’t primarily a training or running mask, this option can be applied to workouts as well. As a dust-proof product, it works for a wide array of scenarios, including but not limited to painting, construct, cleaning, and much more.
Still, in order to provide masking features for all of these activities, it sure needs to pack a mean punch.
Adjustable nose clip
RAPID Exhalation Valves
- BrandBASE CAMP
- Weight0.09 pounds
The GX High Altitude Training and Workout Mask helps to improve your levels of breathing, enhancing your fitness a great deal. This sports training masks is suitable for both sexes. The product keeps your breathing regulated and constant, ensuring that you are able to strengthen your inner core and achieve more strength bursts from each breath you take.
The GX workout mask takes a lot of pride in the grade and quality of its materials. You won’t have to worry about this mask breaking off during workout. It features a firm head strap that holds the face tightly every time you push the bench. That’s not all. This training mask is also versatile. There’s no limit to the kind of exercise that you can engage with this training mask. It can be used for cross-fit training, cardio, running, gym session, and more. It comes with 24 resistance levels, ranging from beginner to professional.
Secure head strap
24 resistance valves
- Weight0.23 pounds
Its tight fit keeps you focused on your workout
It’s applicable for various forms of exercises
Just like the option above it, it comes with quite a strong neoprene smell as well
Taking a more straightforward design, FDBRO makes its foray into the training mask with FDBRO Sports and Workout Mask. However, while it sure looks like what you’ll expect from a training mask, we were stoked when we found out it had so much more.
So, how does this product measure up with the rest? To begin with, the product comes with six levels of resistance. Truth be told, it’s lower than what you get from other options on our guide but these levels are just right for a lot of people. As long as you’re aware of your endurance limit, you should be able to work with this mask and improve them accordingly.
Carry box for easier storage
The nylon polyester sleeve is really strong
The mask is easily washable
It has six resistance valves; much less than what you’ll get with a lot of other products
Training Mask Buying Guide
How We Chose Our Selection Of Training Masks
There are a few factors that trainers and pro-athletes look for before buying training masks. We will go through most of them. Training masks have gained a lot of steam in the training world as the barbells of the lungs. For this guide, we scanned through a ton of reviews from cyclist, runners and trainers in general. We also checked for training mask brands, and delved into the benefits of these lung barbells.
Reviews - Our research on training masks revealed that most training masks were used during high altitude training, and housed either 4, 8 or 16 resistance levels. Generally, reviews help us with a guideline, revealing what most users want in a training mask and what went missing in a product.
For the products we reviewed we chose varying levels of resistance, which include 6, 16, and 24. Most reviewers noted that masks with varying levels of resistance helped them customise their workout. However, the Base Camp mask was the only mask we reviewed that had no resistance level, but it was also the most affordable.
We also found out that most reviewers prefered two strapped masks rather than the one strap masks. Except from the Sparthos Work Out Mask, the rest of the masks we reviewed were two strapped, which are highly-rated by experts as the perfect non-slip masks to have during intense workouts.
In sum, all six of the masks we reviewed had one unique feature that made them stand out in reviews. The features reviewers hinted on the most included perfect seal, non-slip, number of resistance levels and the type straps on the mask.
By aggregating all of this, we were able to know the parameters and characteristics that we were supposed to consider when picking the best training masks. We also visited a few e-commerce and retail platforms to see what customers were saying about the products and what their experiences were.
Brand - Unlike most workout tools and materials, running masks are not yet mainstream. We found out that while a number of people use them, they are usually sold to professional athletes and highly skilled trainers. So, we did not expect recognised stores like adidas, or Nike to have them. However, most manufacturer specifically deal with the production of training masks, which have been reviewed by most trainers as top quality.
This meant that our options were quite limited. We added a mix of older and newer brands that have been tested and tried by workout compatriots. Then, we vetted their products to determine which of them was the best to pick.
Price - We recognize that a lot of consumers are meticulous about what they pay for products, so price is definitely a significant consideration for us. However, to get the best price quotes, we had to ensure that the features and characteristics of the products provided an effective match for their costs. While the price was a major factor, we also considered value and worth.
Unlike other workout gears, training masks are incredibly affordable. Most of the products in our guide were within the price range of $12 to $50. For training masks, the price did not equate quality. Most of the cheaper masks had better features and more resistance levels than the highly-priced gears. In the end, we understand that no one wants to spend so much money for a training mask that doesn't live up to the hype.
Features To Look For In Training Masks
Valves - Valves are holes through which athletes are able to breathe in. The best best training masks usually have adjustable valves, which will help you control the inflow of air to best suit the intensity of your workout.
A sleeve - The sleeve helps keep the sports training masks firm on your face. It's excellent for ergonomics, and it is vital that it is firmly placed, so as to keep you comfortable.
The mouth guard - The mouth guard, as its name goes, holds your mouth in place and also helps to limit your breathing.
Benefits Of Training Masks
Below are some of the benefits that you stand to get from the use of training masks
Core strengthening - If you're into weightlifting or some crossfit training, you'll find that this is to be a must-have. Lifting heavy weights require building endurance and a stronger core. With a stronger core, you can develop a better posture and improve your workout efficiency. Training masks can help you achieve these with consistent use and more.
By using them for your training, you will be able to improve your diaphragm; the muscle located right below your lungs, which forms the foundation of your midsection. A stronger diaphragm means you can take in more air. This way, whenever you're holding your breath, you can create higher pressure and enhanced stability.
Higher stamina - A training mask can enhance your endurance by strengthening your lungs. It will boost your productivity with both aerobic and anaerobic activities by helping you become more oxygen-efficient with your body. If you can supply a lot of oxygen to your muscles, then you can increase your stamina, and workout more effectively for even longer.
Improved endurance - An improvement in endurance is more or less a byproduct of increasing the efficiency of your respiratory system. When you breathe in a paced manner, you get to boost your endurance a great deal. However, when you're exerting yourself a lot, you'll find that controlling and pacing can be a tad confusing.
A training mask will increase your tolerance to CO2, thereby ensuring that you can control your breathing more effectively. The CO2 levels in your body will create the urge to inhale, and this means that as the CO2 levels rise, so will the urge to breathe in. If you are able to develop a higher CO2 tolerance, then you won't have to breathe in so much. This is what a training mask can help with.
Enhanced weight loss - This might not directly have a direct link with performance, but it's part of the benefits that accrue from using sports training masks. Weight loss happens when your body is able to burn way more fat than it takes in. Also, the best way for you to achieve this is to burn more calories by engaging in any high-intensity physical activity.
Well, is there a better way to add some intensity to physical activity than with a training mask? You can put one on, select the type of air resistance that suits the activity you're engaging in, and you're good to go.