The Effect of Smelling Salts on Physical Performance

Tyler Wenig Hanover College
Faculty Sponsor(s): Bryant Stamford Hanover College
Many elite athletes use smelling salts to improve athletic performance. Previous studies examining the impact of smelling salts on performance are limited and offer conflicting results. The purpose of this study was to determine the possible physiologic effects of smelling salts on specific aspects of physical performance. This study was conducted with approval from the Hanover College Human Subjects Institutional Review Board.
Methods:  Four college aged males participated in two experimental trials, plus a baseline orientation trial. One experimental trial entailed administration of smelling salts, while the other imposed a placebo dosage. Trials were randomly assigned and approached with a double blind format. During each trial resting heart rate was monitored prior to and following administration of smelling salts or placebo. Next, a strength and power test was administered consisting of twenty-five consecutive repetition isometric knee extensions on the Cybex Isokinetic Analyzer. Each repetition was a maximal exertion and the test was performed to muscular exhaustion. Ratings of perceived exertion were also obtained.
Results and Discussion:  Data collection is ongoing and nearing completion. Initial findings and pilot data have revealed that smelling salts increase heart rate and muscular strength while decreasing muscular fatigue and ratings of perceived exertion. The placebo also provided a positive impact, but to a much lesser extent.  Overall, to this point in the research process, smelling salts would appear to exert a positive effect on physical performance.
Pharmacy, Health Sciences, & Exercise Science
Oral Presentation

When & Where

01:45 PM
Pharmacy & Health Sciences 204