Date of Award

Summer 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Human Movement Sciences

Committee Director

David Branch

Committee Member

David Swain

Committee Member

Laura Hill


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of ammonia as a stimulant on athletic performance during a deadlift one maximal repetition (1-RM) absolute strength test. It was hypothesized that ammonia inhalation would result in a larger 1-RM, possibly due to immediate catecholamine release attributed to the fight-or-flight response. If proven effective, ammonia inhalation would present an option to increase power and strength performance during training and competition based on an acute manipulation of natural occurring hormones, eliminating the side effects attributed to other supplementation methods. Subjects (n = 10 males, X±SD age = 21±1 years, mass = 72.5±6.8 kg; n = 10 female, 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/blinding water or ammonia trials after a minimum 72-hour recovery period for another 1-RM test involving attempts at 100%, 102.5%, 105%, 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 sex main effect for dead lift 1-RM (93.0±29.5 [females]; 152.0±29.5 kg [males] (1,18F = 20.09, p<0.001), but no trial main effect (2,36F = 0.135, p = 0.874) or sex iv 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 females and males, respectively (2,36F = 0.591, p = 0.559). Limitations to this study included the possibility that the delivery system was flawed; usage of an ammonia concentration not potent enough; and other extraneous factors. Within the limitations of this study, there is no basis for the support of ammonia inhalation to improve 1-RM efforts in training, competition, or any other circumstance.


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