Matt Fagerson admits the breathing exercises introduced by Glasgow Warriors strength and conditioning team to combat the South Africa altitude had him feeling like he was drowning.

But he’s confident it can give them an extra edge in dealing with the conditions when they take on the Bulls this weekend.

Glasgow have been working on altitude training over the last eight weeks with players doing extended breath holds while on bikes to improve ability to cope with less oxygen to the brain.

The extensive exercises were detailed on these pages earlier this week and many of the squad’s fittest players struggled with them in the early stages of the work.

Fagerson admits he was one of them and the lack of air left him struggling to begin with but he’s noticed a real improvement over the time they’ve been doing it.

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Getting that extra edge is something he feels will serve Franco Smith’s men well in South Africa.

He said: “Yeah it’s weird, when you’re holding your breath it feels like you’re drowning a little bit but that’s part of it trying to hold for as long as you can.

“We do all the fitness we can in the world but it’s a different kind of breathing and a different kind of fitness. The longer we’ve done it the better we’ve got but it is tough.

“The S&C team had a look to see we can deal with that. The Bulls have it in their changing rooms as you walk out ‘Altitude: It matters’. They’re training in it all the time so we’re just trying to find these one percenters to help us with our game. They’ve done a great job.

“We’ve done it for a couple of months now, the S&Cs have done a great job to try and get us best prepared so hopefully it will pay off when we’re out there. I think it’s meant to be pretty hot as well.

“Yeah it’s been a couple of months doing certain breath hold stuff just to help your lungs deal with recovering quicker when they’re out there.

“It’s not been a huge focus over the last two or three months but it’s something we wanted to incorporate so it’s not as big a shock when we’re out there.

“It’s physiological when you’re not used to playing at altitude and it’s probably the same for them when they’re not used to playing on a freezing cold wet night at Scotstoun so it takes time to adapt to these things and if we can get a head start then great.”

The lengthy journey to South Africa could be Glasgow Warriors last away trip of the season if they get the top spot they are searching for.

That would give them home advantage right through the play-offs but Fagerson insists he is only focusing on the next game and they can look at what happens after that when it comes.

Scotland Rugby News: Franco Smith

He added: “We’re taking it one game at a time. Bulls this week and Lions next week. We can’t look too far ahead in terms of home quarters and home semis and worrying about where we are in the league in terms of a finishing position.

“It’s in the back of our minds but we have a job to do when we go out there and that’s where the real focus is.”

The 25-year-old is a big fan of strongman Tom Stoltman, who claimed the world title for the third time last weekend.

Fagerson sent him a message on social media and along with his brother Zander, they are big supporters of Stoltman and his brother Luke.

But they won’t be asking him for any tips on weightlifting with Fagerson confident that Stoltman could outlift both him and brother combined.

When asked if he was asking him for any help on it, he joked: “No. I think he would blow me and Zander combined out of the water so we’ll leave that to him.

“We’ve met him a couple of times when he’s come to games. He’s a Scottish legend when it comes to weightlifting and Zander wanted to be one when he was younger, he’s always had a keen eye on it.

“We’ve met Tom and his brother Luke before so we try and keep in touch but it’s great to see them do their thing on the world stage and waving that Scotland flag high.”