Bynum rounded up a vacuum pump, a compressor, two motor-driven treadmills, pressure gauges and controls. Now he can simulate pressures ranging from the near-vacuum of 100,000 feet to the heavy atmosphere of sea level.
One conclusion, that the athletes do better when they descend to lower altitudes, has been confirmed in the chamber and in the performances of the university track team away from mile-high Albuquerque. They have been winning. They win also when teams come to Albuquerque from lower altitudes.
As an example, Bynum points to Ed Coleman, a distance runner who works out in the pressure chamber three days a week. "Based on his test scores in the chamber, at sea level and at higher altitudes, we predicted he could significantly improve his running time in the Drake Relays at Des Moines," Bynum said. "Knowing this, with the fact that he has been training at simulated altitudes up to 14,000 feet in the chamber, he received additional psychological as well as physiological advantages."
So Coleman ran the two-mile in Des Moines in 9 minutes 9.2 seconds—27 seconds faster than his best time in Albuquerque.