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The impact of ammonia inhalants on strength performance in resistance trained males

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Abstract

Ammonia Inhalants (AIs) have been suspected to enhance athletic performance through an increased awareness and subsequent increase in physical strength. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of AIs on strength performance. Twenty-five college-aged males with at least 3 yrs of resistance training experience performed as many repetitions as possible with the back squat and bench press at 85% of one repetition maximum (1RM) after inhaling either AIs or placebo (Vick's® VapoRub®, VVR). There were no significant differences between the number of repetitions performed in the back squat (P = 0.403) or the bench press (P = 0.422) after inhaling the AIs compared to the VVR. While no differences in performance were observed, many individuals may still continue to use AIs. Therefore, if an individual has no pre-existing medical conditions and feels that AIs improve performance, there appears to be no contraindications to using low doses.
Journal of Exercise Physiologyonline
April 2014
Volume 17 Number 2
Editor-in-Chief
Tommy Boone, PhD, MBA
Review Board
Todd Astorino, PhD
Julien Baker, PhD
Steve Brock, PhD
Lance Dalleck, PhD
Eric Goulet, PhD
Robert Gotshall, PhD
Alexander Hutchison, PhD
M. Knight-Maloney, PhD
Len Kravitz, PhD
James Laskin, PhD
Yit Aun Lim, PhD
Lonnie Lowery, PhD
Derek Marks, PhD
Cristine Mermier, PhD
Robert Robergs, PhD
Chantal Vella, PhD
Dale Wagner, PhD
Frank Wyatt, PhD
Ben Zhou, PhD
Official Research Journal
of the American Society of
Exercise Physiologists
ISSN 1097-9751
Official Research Journal of
the American Society of
Exercise Physiologists
ISSN 1097-9751
JEPonline
The impact of ammonia inhalants on strength
performance in resistance trained males
Scott R. Richmond1, Adam C. Potts2, Joseph R. Sherman1
1 Department of Kinesiology, Missouri State University, Springfield,
MO, USA
2 Lamar University Strength & Conditioning Department, Lamar
University, Beaumont, TX, USA
ABSTRACT
Richmond SR, Potts AC, Sherman JR. The impact of ammonia
inhalants on strength performance in resistance trained males.
JEPonline 2014;17(2):1-7. Ammonia Inhalants (AIs) have been
suspected to enhance performance through an increased awareness
and subsequent increase in physical strength. The purpose of this
study was to examine the impact of AIs on strength performance.
Twenty-five college-aged males with at least three years resistance
training experience performed as many repetitions as possible with
the back squat and bench press at 85% 1RM after inhaling either AIs
or placebo (Vick’s® VapoRub®, VVR). There was no significant
difference between the amount of repetitions performed in the back
squat (p = 0.403) or the bench press (p = 0.422) after inhaling the AIs
compared to the VVR. While no differences in performance were
observed, many individuals may still continue to use AIs. Therefore, if
an individual has no pre-existing medical conditions and feels that AIs
improve their performance then there are no contraindications to use
in low doses. Key Words: Smelling Salts, Resistance Training
1
INTRODUCTION
Pre-workout supplements are very popular in today’s fitness realm. Many athletes,
bodybuilders, power-lifters and recreational lifters use pre-workout supplements prior to training to
increase motivation and muscular strength. Previous studies have shown that significant benefits in
muscular strength and power can be acquired from using pre-workout ‘energy’ supplements within an
hour prior to the resistance training session (2, 9). Ammonia Inhalants (AIs), or smelling salts, are
often used to enhance performance in sports competitions and prior to heavy resistance training
bouts. AIs are becoming more widespread among athletes and lifters attempting to gain an edge or
increase strength or performance (3, 4).
AIs are typically found in the form of capsules containing ammonium carbonate combined with
scents or perfumes. AIs are categorized as a respiratory stimulants and when AIs are inhaled, the
nose, lungs, and mucus membranes rapidly become irritated causing involuntary inhalation (4). This
involuntary inhalation is reported to accelerate respiration and stimulate a “higher degree of
consciousness” (4). A “higher degree of consciousness” may be responsible for increasing primary
attentional focus which allows the weight lifter to block out unnecessary distractions and primarily
focus on the task of executing the exercise, a psychological trait that many expert athletes utilize to
perform successfully under pressure (7).
The use of AIs are approved through the United States Food and Drug Administration for the
treatment of fainting and may be purchased over the counter. Ammonia is toxic in large amounts and
should only be administered in small doses to users with no pre-existing medical conditions (10).
Complications caused by AIs in athletes have been reported, but are extremely rare, and include lung
irritation/damage, loss of consciousness and anaphylaxis (3). People with respiratory issues such as
asthma should avoid using AIs due to the potential of the lungs becoming irritated. It is also
recommended that AIs not be used to aid head and neck injuries because of the risk of a sudden,
unexpected reflex (10).
Athletes commonly use AIs immediately before or during competition, such as prior to
attempting a 1RM in the bench press, back squat, deadlift or power clean. AIs have also been used
before the opening kickoff of a football game, between rounds of a boxing match or in locker rooms
during breaks or intermissions of games (10). Although AIs have been used for many years, little is
known about their effects on athletic performance. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to
examine the impact of AIs on strength performance.
METHODS
Subjects
Twenty-eight males were recruited from university physical conditioning courses and local
fitness establishments (age: 21.5 ± 2.2y, height: 181.1 ± 4.6 cm, weight: 93.4 ± 14.2 kg). A training
history questionnaire was required to ensure that all subjects were indeed ‘experienced’; defined by
at least 3yrs of resistance training experience (Resistance Training Experience: 7.3 ± 2.6y) and could
back squat 1.5 times their body weight and bench press 1.0 times their body weight (1). Individuals
who did not meet these criteria were excluded from participation in the study. Prior to participating in
the investigation, subjects were informed of all potential risks and procedures involved with the study
and completed an informed consent in accordance with the Human Subjects Committee Review
Board (Study #: 13-0316) and the World Medical Association 1964 Declaration of Helsinki. Each
participant in the study completed a medical history form to assist in screening out individuals that
have any cardio, respiratory or muscular conditions that would affect the study. Vick’s ® VapoRub®
(VVR) was chosen as a placebo in this study because of its strong menthol scent that is comparable
to an AI. The back squat and bench press exercises were used in this study due to the fact they are
measures of upper and lower body strength, are highly utilized in training and correlate to athletic
performance (5).
2
Procedures
The initial session consisted of completing pre-participation paperwork and estimating their
one-repetition max (1RM) on the back squat and the bench press. Participants were instructed not to
engage in any demanding physical activity at least 48-h prior to any of the testing sessions so that the
central nervous system and muscular system would be fully recovered (6). Participants were also
instructed to follow the same dietary regime throughout the trial and eat a meal at least 3-h prior to
each testing session. After the completion of all pre-screening paperwork participants began a
general warm up on an Aerodyne Ergometer for 5-min followed by the back squat warm up (8).
Participants performed the back squat testing prior to the bench press in this study because the squat
exercise involves larger muscle groups which should be trained prior to smaller muscle groups (1). A
standard squat rack with a 20kg barbell was used for the all of the testing. Participants were already
familiar with proper back squat technique from previous training experience, but proper technique
was re-emphasized prior to and during all lifting. Technique consisted of the feet being parallel to
each other and also shoulder width apart with the barbell resting on the shoulders. For the repetition
to be deemed successful the participant needed to descend with the hips and knees until the thighs
were parallel to the floor and then return to a standing position from the squat (1). Following at least
3 warm-up sets consisting 2-6 repetitions; the resistance was increased in 5-20kg increments until the
participants could only perform 2-5 repetitions with maximal exertion and proper technique. The 1RM
was estimated using the number of squat repetitions performed with that weight (1). After the back
squat RM, participants rested for 5-min before starting the bench press warm up. The bench press
technique consisted of the head, back, hips, feet and legs contacting the bench or floor at all times.
The participants were instructed to lower the barbell to touch the chest and then raise the barbell by
fully extending the elbows. The repetition was not deemed successful if the participant failed to utilize
the demonstrated technique. Next, the participant completed at least 3 warm up sets before
attempting the RM set. The 1RM was estimated using the number of bench press repetitions
performed with that weight (1). See Figure 1 for detail of overall timeline of testing session
throughout the study.
Approximately 2 to 4 days (at least 48-h and no more than 96-h) after the initial testing, the
second testing session took place. During the second testing session participants started with a 5-
min warm up on the Aerodyne Ergometer and then began the squat warm up. The participant
completed at least 4 back squat warm up sets with approximately 1-min between sets. During these
warm up sets a marked coin was flipped to randomly assign which substance the participant would
inhale first. Two minutes rest was given prior to completing the maximal exertion set (ME) set which
consisted of performing as many reps as possible with 85% of their predicted 1RM. Three seconds
before initiating the ME set the participant inhaled either the AI or VVR (placebo). The AI was in
liquid form and VVR in gel form, both were contained within a micro-centrifuge tube. During testing
the substance inhaled was unknown to the participant and to the researcher who administered it.
After the ME set was completed there was a 5-min break prior to beginning the bench press warm up.
After 4 sets of bench press warm up the participant also completed their ME set at 85% 1RM. Three
seconds prior to the ME set the participant will once again inhaled either the AI or VVR. The same
substance was inhaled for both the bench press and back squat. The third testing session was 2 to 4
days (at least 48-h and no more than 96-h) after the second session. The third session was identical
to the second testing session except the participant inhaled the substance that they did not inhale
during the second session.
Statistical Analyses
Using SPSS (v19.0) a Paired Samples t-test was utilized to measure differences in the number
of repetitions completed after inhaling the AI or the VVR. A One-Way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
was used to measure any differences in the calculated 1RM’s of all three sessions (pre-test, AI, and
VVR).
3
RESULTS
The results were based on 25 male participants who completed all 3 testing sessions. Three
participants did not finish the study due to scheduling issues. Participants who completed the study
reported no physical injuries due to the testing protocol. There was no significant difference between
the amount of repetitions performed in the back squat (AI = 6.7 ± 2.3 vs. VVR = 6.4 ± 1.8; p = 0.403)
or the bench press (AI = 5.4 ± 1.2 vs. VVR = 5.2 ± 1.6; p = 0.422) after inhaling the AI compared to
the VVR. There was also no significant difference between the calculated 1RM for both back squat
and bench press when using AI, VVR or initial testing session (no substance inhaled).
DISCUSSION
The results of this study have revealed no significant differences in the AI testing sessions
compared to the VVR sessions in the back squat and bench press. People with respiratory issues like
asthma should avoid using AIs due to the potential for the lungs to become irritated. It is also
recommended that AIs not be used to aid head and neck injuries due to the risk of a sudden,
unexpected reflex (10).
Potential limitations to this study include the amount of Ammonia that was inhaled by each
participant. Although each participant inhaled the ammonia from the same size capsule, the amount
of inhalation by each participant may have been much different. Another issue that will have to be
answered in future research is how the AI would affect back squat and bench press performance at a
higher percentage of a 1RM, greater than 85% of 1RM. It is understood that anecdotal reports
suggest that AIs are used for short anaerobic bursts of strength. It may be possible that with when
using AIs the amount of weight someone can perform after two or three reps decreases significantly
Utilizing a weight closer to predicted maximum could potentially create a more realistic picture of a
powerlifting or sport-specific activity. Further research must be done to examine this issue.
Although more research is needed on the effects of AIs relating to exercise performance, our
data suggests that there may be no significant link between the two. A placebo effect interaction due
to participants not inhaling substances before lifting on a regular basis could somewhat explain the
results. While there were no differences in performance, this study does not account for any potential
psychological impact of AIs. Subjects reported anecdotally that the substances “made them feel like
they were more aroused and awake.” Therefore, if an individual has no pre-existing medical
conditions and feels that AIs do improve their performance then there are no known contraindications
to use in low doses.
The practical significance due to a psychological impact of the AIs is an area that should be
explored by subsequent research. Determining if AIs impact the nervous system in a way that
improves motor unit firing, biomechanics or muscle fiber activity could help explain the anecdotal
accounts of the participants. Further research is needed to determine if this effect is repeatable with
other substances used as a control.
CONCLUSIONS
While there were no differences in performance, this study did not account for any potential
psychological impact of AIs. Therefore, if an individual feels that AIs do improve their performance,
and has no pre-existing medical conditions that would present harm with AI use, then there are no
contraindications for use in low doses. However, given the lack of a significant impact of AIs on back
squat and bench press performance, AIs should not be prescribed universally by trainers and
strength coaches.
4
Address for correspondence: Richmond SR, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, Missouri State
University, Springfield, MO USA, 65897. Phone: (417) 836-8481, Email:
ScottRichmond@MissouriState.edu
REFERENCES
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supplement on acute multi-joint resistance exercise. J Sports Sci Med 10: 261-266, 2010.
3. Herrick RT, Herrick S. Allergic reaction to aromatic ammonia inhalant ampule. A case report. Am
J Sports Med 11: 28, 1983.
4. McCrory P. Smelling salts. Br J Sports Med 40: 659-660, 2006.
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6. Nosaka K. Muscle damage and amino acid supplementation: Does it aid recovery from muscle
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7. Oudejans RR, Kuijpers W, Kooijman CC, Bakker FC. Thoughts and attention of athletes under
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general and activity specific warm-up protocols. J Sports Sci Med 11: 279-285, 2012.
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Disclaimer
The opinions expressed in JEPonline are those of the authors and are not attributable to JEPonline,
the editorial staff or the ASEP organization.
5
Tables
Table 1. Repetitions performed with 85% of 1RM.
Back Squat Bench Press
VVR 6.4 1.8 5.2 1.6
AI 6.7 2.3 5.4 1.2
Mean SD Abbreviations: VVR; Vick’s® VapoRub®, AI; Ammonia Inhalant
Table 2. Predicted 1RM.
Conditions Back Squat Bench Press
Pre-test (kg) 170.7 33.1 129.2 20.4
VVR (kg) 176.4 35.5 128.9 21.4
AI (kg) 177.4 33.9 129.7 21.2
Mean SD Abbreviations: VVR; Vick’s® VapoRub®, AI; Ammonia Inhalant
6
Figures
Figure 1. Overall timeline of events
Figure 2. Sample timeline of 85% of 1RM trial
7
... AIs are a common example of a stimulant-based ergogenic aid used within competitive sport; yet, despite their popularity, there has been little research into their effect on sporting performance. Greater anaerobic power has been observed with AI use in a fatigued state (Secrest, Jones, & Faries, 2015), but they have been shown not to impact lower limb or full body static strength (Bartolomei et al., 2018;Perry, Pritchard, & Barnes, 2016), dynamic strength (Richmond, Potts, & Sherman, 2014;Vigil, Sabatini, Hill, Swain, & David Branch, 2018), or number of repetitions to fatigue (Richmond et al., 2014). However, no previous study has assessed the influence of AIs on isolated upper body strength only. ...
... AIs are a common example of a stimulant-based ergogenic aid used within competitive sport; yet, despite their popularity, there has been little research into their effect on sporting performance. Greater anaerobic power has been observed with AI use in a fatigued state (Secrest, Jones, & Faries, 2015), but they have been shown not to impact lower limb or full body static strength (Bartolomei et al., 2018;Perry, Pritchard, & Barnes, 2016), dynamic strength (Richmond, Potts, & Sherman, 2014;Vigil, Sabatini, Hill, Swain, & David Branch, 2018), or number of repetitions to fatigue (Richmond et al., 2014). However, no previous study has assessed the influence of AIs on isolated upper body strength only. ...
... During trials 2 and 3 participants inhaled either AI within the experimental condition or water within the sham condition prior to all measurements of functional performance. A sham condition of water was chosen over a scented alternative (as has been adopted elsewhere (Richmond et al., 2014)) as evidence shows that other strong smelling substances can promote muscle activity (Schwartz, 1979). After the control trial, participants were informed that they would inhale the AI during one trial, and water (sham) during the other, and that these trials would be randomised in order. ...
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Many athletes seek to enhance their performance using legal ergogenic aids, including ammonia inhalants (AIs). AIs trigger the inhalation reflex and increase blood pressure, respiration and heart rate; but, despite their widespread use, there is little evidence for the benefits of AI on exercise performance. We aimed to determine the psychological and neuromuscular impact of acute ammonia inhalation. Fourteen non-resistance trained males completed three trials: control, experimental (AI), and sham. The order of the sham and experimental trials was randomized. Participants completed handgrip and knee extension maximal voluntary contractions (MVC), and countermovement jump (CMJ). Heart rate and alertness were recorded at rest and immediately following control, experimental or sham treatment, followed by functional performance measurements. Reaction time, electromechanical delay, rate of force development and peak force were calculated from MVCs, and peak power from CMJ. On completion of trials, perceived performance was recorded. Statistical significance was accepted at P<0.05. Heart rate (P<0.001), alertness (P=0.009) and perceived performance (P=0.036) were elevated by AIs. Markers of functional performance were unaltered by AIs. Alertness was moderately correlated with perceived performance in control (r=0.61) and sham conditions (r=0.54), and very-highly correlated in the experimental condition (r=0.90). AI elevates alertness and perceived physical performance, but not peak strength, power, or neuromuscular drive. AIs may be a useful psychological stimulant to increase focus and mental preparation, however it is unlikely that this will improve functional performance in an untrained population. Our data suggest however, that ammonia inhalants may improve the perception of an individual's performance.
... In addition, because of the lack of peer-reviewed articles, a manual search from the reference list of all retained articles was performed until April 2020. Despite these efforts and generous search criteria, the search procedure only resulted in a total of 4 peer-reviewed studies (3,39,43,55). Therefore, to increase the breadth of this review, we also included 6 conference abstracts (2,32,33,44,49,59) and 1 master's thesis (17). ...
... For example, one of the earliest peerreviewed studies investigated the effect of AI inhalation on anaerobic muscular endurance on 25 college-aged men (43). In this study, subjects inhaled AIs (or a placebo) for 3 seconds and then performed as many repetitions as possible (AMRAP) of the BS with 85% of their 1 repetition maximum (1RM). ...
... In accordance with the presented results from various performance tasks, it may be suggested there are no ergogenic effects of AI inhalation on maximal muscular strength (3,39,43,55). Moreover, no effects were observed on muscular endurance performance (43) or in various explosive strength performances using either slow (2,3,33,44) or fast stretch-shortening cycles (2). ...
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Ammonium inhalants (AIs) are used to improve athletic performance, but their use has preceded the research process. Oftentimes, strength-based athletes use AIs to postpone acute fatigue or increase arousal. Despite the widespread use of AIs, the amount of research examining its physiological effects, efficacy, and safety is low compared with other ergogenic aids that have been extensively researched. Therefore, the purpose of this review is to provide sports science researchers, strength and conditioning professionals, medical professionals, and other practitioners with the most up to date information about the benefits, risks, and physiological effects of AIs. To date, there is a lack of evidence to support anecdotal claims of increased cognitive arousal and greater strength performance. However, there may be a short-term effect of AIs on the cardiorespiratory system (possibly increasing breathing rate and heart rate approximately 15–30 seconds), but further research is needed to support these findings and to determine how the short-term cardiorespiratory effects may affect other physiological and performance measures. Finally, although evidence does not indicate that AIs are dangerous in healthy populations, sport and health professionals should be aware of the potential risks of AIs to prevent any unlikely, but possible, difficulties.
... Despite the high prevalence of AI use by powerlifters, well-controlled research on the efficacy of AI use is almost nonexistent. AI was ineffective in increasing back squat and bench press repetitions at 85 percent of 1-repetition maximum (1-RM) (24) or maximal mid-thigh pull force, rate of force development, or electromyography activity (19), but increased Wingate test peak and mean anaerobic power was observed following a simulated American football game (25). To our knowledge, no studies have examined the ergogenic effect of AI on the 1-RM of any competitive weight lifting event. ...
... Therefore, the nature of reasons. First, the effects of AI are brief so it is logical to assume that an ergogenic effect would occur within the much shorter time window of administration immediately prior to a 1-RM attempt rather than prior to multiple high-intensity repetitions (24). Secondly, the dead lift is generally considered to be a safe lift for the recreational weightlifters assuming the use of proper technique. ...
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Ammonia inhalant (AI) use by powerlifters and weightlifters is a prevalent practice with little research support for improved performance. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of ammonia as a stimulant on athletic performance during a dead lift one maximal repetition (1-RM) absolute strength test. Subjects (n=10 men, mean±SD age=21±1 years, mass=72.5±6.8 kg; n=10 women, age=22±5 years, mass=66.2±8.1 kg) were required to have at least two years of resistance training experience while lacking a history of asthma, lightheadedness, fainting, anaphylaxis, sickle cell traits, and other respiratory disorders. After a baseline 1-RM test, subjects were paired by 1-RM performance and gender, then randomly assigned in a counterbalanced treatment order to control (water) or ammonia trials after a minimum 72-hour recovery period for another 1-RM test involving attempts at 100.0%, 102.5%, 105.0%, and 107.5% of the established 1-RM value. Testing was then repeated after the minimum rest period for the remaining trial. Results revealed the expected gender main effect for absolute dead lift 1-RM (93.0±29.5 [women]; 152.0±29.5 kg [men] (p<0.001), but no trial main effect (p=0.874) or gender by trial interaction effect (baseline=93.0± 15.3, 151.8±42.3 kg; water=92.0±12.5, 150.9±37.8 kg; ammonia=92.5±16.4, 153.4±37.9 kg) for women and men, respectively (p=0.559). Within the limitations of this study, there is no support for the practice of ammonia inhalation to improve dead lift 1-RM in training or competition.
... While the use of ammonia inhalants during competition is prevalent in strength sports it is unclear how the cardiovascular system responds acutely to use of a commercially available ammonia inhalant and whether this inhalation is beneficial or detrimental to maximal muscular performance, as expressed in powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting. Richmond et al. (2014) recently reported no effect of ammonia inhalation on the number of repetitions completed during the bench press and back squat at 85 % of one repetition maximum (1 RM), however, these submaximal loads are not representative of the efforts made in powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting. Given the dearth of information regarding the potential safety and performance benefits of ammonia inhalation, the first aim of this study was to determine the cardiovascular response to acute inhalation of a commonly used ammonia inhalant at rest. ...
... Our findings are in line with those of Richmond et al. (2014) who recently reported no benefit of ammonia inhalation when lifting a submaximal load (85 % 1RM) to volitional fatigue. Their methodology, however, is more indicative of a training scenario, rather than competition where a single, maximal effort is made, and therefore may have limited application; particularly as the use of ammonia in training is unlikely. ...
... This combined with the strong withdrawal reflex induced by the ammonia inhalation would indicate an adequate dose and response. Despite this clear stimulant response no effect on maximal, one off force development was achieved and is consistent with the findings of Richmond et al. (2014). The trained nature of our participants would make fatigue between efforts unlikely, as the total number of efforts was low and long rest periods were given. ...
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Full-text available
Purpose: Ammonia is used as a stimulant in strength based sports to increase arousal and offset fatigue however little is known about its physiological and performance effects. The purpose of this study was twofold (1) establish the physiological response to acute ammonia inhalation (2) determine whether the timing of the physiological response corresponds with a performance enhancement, if any. Methods: Fifteen healthy males completed two trials. Trial one investigated the beat-to-beat middle cerebral artery blood flow velocity (MCAv), heart rate (HR) and mean arterial pressure (MAP) response to ammonia inhalation. During trial two, participants performed a maximal single mid-thigh pull (MTP) at various time points following ammonia inhalation in a randomised order: MTPs were conducted immediately, 15, 30 and 60 s following ammonia inhalation. A MTP with no ammonia inhalation served as the control. During this trial maximal MTP force, rate of force development (RFD) and electromyography (EMG) activity were recorded. Results: MCAvmean increased and peaked on average by 6 cm s(-1) (P < 0.001), 9.4 ± 5.5 s following ammonia inhalation. Similarly, HR was increased by 6 ± 11 beats per minute 15 s following ammonia inhalation (P < 0.001). MAP remained unchanged following inhalation (P = 0.51). The use and timing of ammonia inhalation had no effect on maximal force, RFD or EMG (all P > 0.2) compared to control. Conclusions: MCAv was elevated despite no increase in MAP occurring; this is indicative of a cerebrovascular vasodilation. Despite the marked cerebrovascular and cardiovascular response to ammonia inhalation no ergogenic effect was observed during the MTP, irrespective of the timing of administration.
... Despite the popularity of the use of AI, only a few scientific studies have investigated the effect of ammonia salt inhalation on maximal strength and explosive strength performance. Richmond et al. (16) reported no significant improvements in the number of repetitions performed to failure during a submaximal load (85% of 1 repetition maximum: 1-RM) in both the bench press and back squat exercises. ...
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The aim of the present study was to investigate the influence of ammonia inhalants on lower body power and maximal isometric strength in trained men. Twenty experienced resistance trained men (age = 26.7 ± 3.7 y; body weight = 80.59 ± 9.0 kg; body height = 179.5 ± 5.7 cm) were tested for counter movement jump power (CMJP), maximal force and rate of force development (pRFD20) expressed during an isometric mid-thigh pull (IMTP). Assessments were performed using either an ammonia salt inhalants (AI), a placebo (PL) or no inhalants (N). One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) with repeated measures was used to compare strength and power performance between the different trials. A significant (p < 0.01) increase in pRFD20 was detected following the use of AI. No significant effects of trial were noted for CMJP and IMTP maximal force (p = 0.251 and p = 0.075, respectively). Results of the present study showed a potential ergogenic effect of AI on rate of force development (i.e, explosive force output), with a trend towards an improvement in maximal force production. The mechanism of action may be related to the stimulatory action of AI often reported by athletes as a "psyching-up" effect. The positive effect of AI on the rate of force development may represent an advantage in sports requiring high rates of force production.
... Athletes are often looking for ways to gain an advantage on their competitors. Previous research has shown that the use of smelling salts or ammonia inhalants (AI) have little to no impact on resistance training performance and during anaerobic bouts of exercise (1,2). However, other inhalation substances have also been thought to show ergogenic properties (3,4). ...
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