O[2] Lance: educate yourself

If you have watched ESPN, or even Oprah, you know about the Lance Armstrong [LA] hoax. After constant denial of the accusations he finally broke down and admitted the truth. What is happening is blood doping is being compared to and even lifted above all other abusive substances. I am not, and will not say that what LA did was morale. However, I want to scrape the scales from the eyes of America and educate everyone on what blood doping is.

Blood Dope

Blood doping can occur several different ways. The pharmaceutical way to blood dope is to take the drug EPO, which triggers the bodies response to increase red blood cell [RBC] count. The way that LA supposedly did his was a transfusion technique. A doctor will draw blood extract and concentrate RBC and then preserve it, while the body regrows the RBC count. A few days before the competition the blood is re injected and the overall RBC count is higher than normal.

Interesting notes show that LA could have had a low blood cell count. Which before hand would have left him at a disadvantage. Obviously this means that people are born with different levels of natural RBC counts. People who live in mountain areas are found to have higher counts of RBC. This increased count allows them to keep normal O2 levels with below normal atmospheric pressures.

Is It A Benefit

No matter how it's done blood doping does lead to an advantage. The aerobic system runs on O2 obviously for the resynthesization of ATP. The more oxygen that can be transported to the muscle tissue, the faster the aerobic system can function.

Soldier It

These techniques were used around 1993 to improve military performance. They called it Blood loading, but the practice was the exact same. Before a mission they would re-inject some blood cells to improve endurance and alertness.

Because it's used in the military, should it be allowed in sports? Or will we hold to the old saying of "all is fair in love and war."


Testing on blood doping can be controversial though. A way to improve RBC counts is to put yourself in a Hyperbaric chamber. Hyperbaric chambers are enclosed caskets that change the pressure forcing the body to adapt by increasing the RBC count gradually. Over time the RBC count will be higher. However, if someone tests the blood of a person who uses a hyperbaric chamber, it would seem that they are abusing blood doping.

Floyd Landis, the controversial Tour de France winner of 2009, claims that he had an increased RBC count due to a hyperbaric chamber. There is no absolute way to test between blood doping and hyperbaric chambers.

Floyd Landis Tour de France winner [2009]
Lance Armstrong did claim to abuse blood doping, along with other substances, and is not in the controversy of hyperbaric chambers.

Needless To Say

LA has lifted the hopes of many just to let them fall. What he did was immoral  and you can decide the level of his actions. But what he didn't do was destroy his body, or do something that was impossible alone. Scandals like this add stains to people like Floyd Landis who are trying to prove their innocence. 

Rather than joining in on the American Bash squad, reevaluate the significance of what he did. And don't isolate him, because the gold was not given to second place. The new gold medal holder was the 22nd place rider [so it's rumored]. Equality people.

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About Me

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BS, MS - exercise Physiology
EPC - Board Certified Exercise Physiologist

Published Thesis
The impact of three different forms of warm up on performance

The Effects of Glucose Supplementation on Barbell Velocity and Fatiguability in Weightlifting - A pilot study"

The Accute Effects Of Different Squat Intensities on Vertical Jump Performances
The Accute Effects of Different Squat Intensities On Jump Performance

Graduate from Midwestern State University, founder of Endunamoo Barbell Club, and Endunamoo Strength and Conditioning. Working to help athletes physically reach their goals and achieve scholarships while spiritually pouring into as many people as possible on all platforms.