Straight out of the box, the Elevation Training Mask 2.0 comes with everything necessary to get started. With three sizes to choose from based on the weight of the user, fit is simple to understand and plan for. The initial seals that are on the mask ensure that the wearer can try it on immediately to get a feel for its capability.
The mask is designed with two main parts, a mouth and nose piece made of silicon, and a neoprene strap which secures the mask to the face. The silicone breathing mask obtains an impressive seal to the face on the first try. It required no adjustments and was comfortable to the cheek and nose bones it rests upon. Some users may feel a slight claustrophobic response at the onset due to the noticeable restriction on breathing. This passed after the first minute or two of wearing it and I highly recommend putting it on while performing limited to no physical work first to become accustomed to this feeling.
The first difference noted is that, while it is still possible to breathe through the nose, the initial valves require a minimum of force to open and let air through. While breathing through the nose only, towards the end of each breath the valves will stutter and close as that pressure decreases. This demonstrates the secondary purpose of the mask, to increase lung capacity by training the lungs to pull in more oxygen and use more force.
Breathing through the mouth only is quite comfortable and there is no issue noticed for pressure. If you are the type of person who has some form of gastrointestinal response, i.e. any kind of burping or swallowing, it may throw your breathing off a bit.
The masks’ shape and contour help to ensure that the wearer has maximum range of visibility. Minus a small part covering the nose, the rest of the face remains clear of obstructions. This is fantastic and provides the greatest ability to utilize the mask in real settings and not be concerned about running into objects or people.
The facial contouring straps fit comfortably around the neck and use the ears as a stabilizing point before connecting together with velcro on the back of the head. The velcro is protected from scratching or rubbing the skin which is great and the holes for the ears ensure that the mask will fit and stay in the right place. After performing pushups, sit-ups, and mountain climbers with the mask on, it never once shifted from its desired location which would have been a product killer. No one wants to stop mid workout to fix a mask, and the Training Mask 2.0 remained true to its positioning.
On the downsides, I immediately felt hesitant to walk outside with the elevation mask on. This is not exclusive to the Training Mask 2.0, but just the fact that half the face is covered is reminiscent of action figures. It took some walking around in the apartment to warm up to the idea and then my initial outdoors exercising occurred in the early morning or late at night to reduce my concern. After a few times outdoors though, I started worrying less and less and found I was able to get into the excitement of a challenging workout more than what I was wearing for the process. The only problem is when someone tries to ask why you are wearing the mask, because responding is challenging while maintaining your breathing and you have to exert more energy to speak loudly so it can be heard through the mask.
There are many different valves and settings available. I found the user’s manual to be helpful, but the multiple resistance valve changes made it very easy for me to lose them. I had to diligently dedicate a pocket of my workout bag to these valves themselves and still found I was spending more time than desired searching for the right one.
As with all good workouts, sweat is a natural element. For the mask, the face shield collects that sweat and heat and requires constant cleaning. It is easy enough to roll back the sides on the silicone mask and wipe it out to keep it clean. To ensure a proper cleaning though, removing the valves and neoprene face strap adds more time and energy and is not as quick as desired.
All in all, the Training Mask 2.0 provides many benefits with few drawbacks. The person who will buy this is one who is focused on their physical improvement and development. They are likely to look past the cosmetic awkwardness of wearing one of these on the face, and see the benefits of improving their lung capacity. A new user should definitely look at the mask as a training constraint and not try to run a marathon on day one. Instead, as with changing shoes or building up to any event, they should be mindful to start at the bottom and work their way to a level of comfortability. This cannot be understated as trying to jump right in with the training mask is a surefire way to become quickly frustrated with limitations that it puts on your breathing.
After a week of using the mask I found it to be a fairly comfortable tool that I could pull out of the bag when I needed it and put it away when I was done. After taking it off I noticed that my breathing was deeper which made sense and I could see the impact of the mask on my chest muscles as I intuitively pulled in more air. I have not seen a difference in my overall performance, but I do notice that my breathing is not my weak point.
At the end of the day, the lungs should be trained like any other part of the body. Controlling breathing, ensuring deep and comfortable breaths definitely did not hurt my workouts, and if this is the goal of your workout, then the Training Mask 2.0 is a great tool to help!
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.