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The Long-Term Ergogenic Effect of Long Acting ?2-Agonists

Merlini, M, Whyte, Greg, Chester, Neil, Loosemore, Mike, Marcora, Samuele Maria, Dickinson, John W. (2016) The Long-Term Ergogenic Effect of Long Acting ?2-Agonists. In: 21st Annual Congress of European College of Sport Science, 6th – 9th July, 2016, Vienna. (KAR id:57168)


Background: The WADA List of Banned Substances and Methods stipulates that athletes can use up to 54 µg inhaled Formoterol and inhaled Salmeterol as directed by the manufacturer. It is unknown whether large daily therapeutic doses of Formoterol and Salmeterol can improve sprint and strength performance.

Purpose: To investigate the impact of inhaling 100 µg of Salmeterol (SAL) or 12 µg of Formoterol (FOR) twice daily over a 5 week period on sprint, strength and power performance.

Methods: In a randomised single blind study 24 male and 15 female non-asthmatic and active participants were recruited (mean ± SD; Males age 28.0 ± 5.5 years; weight 72.1 ± 10.5 Kg; height 164.7 ± 7.1 cm; Females age 24.1 ± 4.1 years; weight 65.4 ± 9.5 Kg; height 168.0 ± 4.3 cm). Participants completed three standardised whole body strength and power training sessions per week for five weeks. All the training sessions were supervised by a personal trainer who recorded work performed in each session. During the five week training period participants were assigned to either SAL, FOR or a placebo (PLA) group. Participants took their inhaler twice per day as instructed. Participants completed assessments of sprint, strength and power at week 0 and after 5 weeks of strength and power training. The assessments included 30 m sprint, vertical jump, 1 RM bench press, 1 RM leg press, peak torque flexion and extension, anthropometric evaluation and Rest-Q questionnaires. Mixed Model Repeated Measures ANOVA were performed to investigate the changes in the sprint, strength and power assessments between groups over the course of the 5 week training session.

Results: 30 m Sprint time was significantly lower in FOR group (– 0.29 ± 0.11 s; p=0.049) and SAL (– 0.35 ± 0.05 s; p=0.04) when compared with compared with Placebo (+0.01 ± 0.11 s; P=0.000). No significant change was found in 1RM Leg, Squat and Bench Press or during Isokinetic evaluation performed at 60° range in flex/ext movement. Jump performance as well as anthropometric measures didn’t differ between groups.

Discussion: The significant changes in FOR and SAL 30m sprint time when compared to PLA suggest the long term use of inhaled ?2-agonnists may provide ergogenic advantage. This finding suggests a review of the use of inhaled doses of FOR and SAL by athletes in training and official competition may be necessary.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Poster)
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1235 Physiology of sports
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Sport and Exercise Sciences
Depositing User: John Dickinson
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2016 14:40 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 23:40 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Marcora, Samuele Maria.

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Dickinson, John W..

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