ESSENDON'S Heath Hocking will sleep in an altitude room for the next 12 nights in a left-field plan devised to keep the midfielder's fitness up as he recovers from a groin injury.
The 26-year-old finished last season with groin pain and was subsequently given an extended break by the club's medical staff.
But because his fitness has now fallen behind Essendon's main group, Hocking has agreed to sleep in the altitude room at Tullamarine.
Essendon's high performance manager Justin Crow told the club's website that Hocking's aerobic capacity will be boosted by sleeping in the low oxygen environment.
"While the group's doing a lot of aerobic training and conditioning, we're going to make sure that Heath is getting some of that work to his lungs by sleeping in the altitude chamber and then also gradually building up outside the chamber with his running during the week," Crow said.
Hocking, who will build up to longer running in the next few weeks, said he's looking forward to the mental challenge.
"I think anything that's going to benefit your football and your fitness is something that you'll try," he said.
"I know it will be mentally challenging – and that's something I'm looking forward to – but it's going to be tough."