top of page

NEW: Does Hyperbaric Oxygenation Improve Athletic Performance?

Šet, Vida; Lenasi, Helena

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 37(2):p 482-493, February 2023. | DOI: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000004281


Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) has been suggested to affect oxygen availability and performance and delay the onset of fatigue. Therefore, the goal was:

1. To search through the currently available literature and evaluate the effect of acute exposure to HBO on exercise performance, potential effects of a combination of HBO and physical training.

2. To elucidate some possible mechanisms behind the above.


Conducted were searches in the PubMed and Scopus databases (search term: “hyperbaric” AND “oxygen” AND “exercise”) and in relevant hyperbaric textbook and assessed potentially eligible full texts for details. Meta-analysis could not be performed because of a few available and rather heterogeneous studies.

Twenty-seven studies were included in the final assessment (14 on exercise during HBO, 9 on exercise following HBO, 4 on applying HBO during recovery and rest between exercise bouts, and 3 on a combination of HBO and training).


The results are contradictory:

1. Either positive or no ergogenic effects. There is some risk of bias and placebo effect.

2. Discrepant findings of the available studies might partly be explained by different protocols applied, both regarding HBO and exercise intensity and regimen.

3. There is a need for further research with well-designed trials to evaluate the effect of HBO on performance before recommending it to routine use in athletes.


Stick with time-proven training methods because training time is valuable and often-times hard to schedule.

bottom of page