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Does salbutamol improve sprinting performance following endurance cycling? Sinden, Sean


Salbutamol, an inhaled asthma medication, may have a number of extra-pulmonary effects throughout the body that may result in an ergogenic benefit during exercise. Purpose: To investigate the ergogenic effects of high-dose inhaled salbutamol on sprint performance following a prolonged, individualized, steady-state exercise bout; secondarily, to identify the systemic effects of salbutamol during steady-state exercise that might explain such an ergogenic finding. Methods: Using a eucapnic voluntary hyperpnoea test, ten male and ten female cyclists were tested for exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). Using a crossover design, participants inhaled either placebo or 1600g of salbutamol and subsequently completed two 75-minute constant power cycling bouts immediately followed by a 30-second Wingate test. Primary outcomes were those collected during the Wingate test: peak and mean power. Lactate, perceived exertion, ventilatory, and gas exchange measurements were collected throughout the steady-state bout. A repeated-measures ANOVA was utilized to assess the effects of sex, EIB status, and salbutamol on performance outcomes. Results: Lung function was improved following salbutamol inhalation (M = 8.3%, SD = 1.0%) compared to placebo (M = 1.0%, SD = 5.6%). The differences in peak and mean power between the salbutamol and placebo conditions were not found to be statistically significant. During the 75-minute endurance bout, carbohydrate utilization, heart rate, and minute ventilation were increased while ventilatory efficiency was decreased. In general, the effects of salbutamol were more pronounced in women relative to men, while no impactful differences were found as a function of EIB status. Conclusion: Despite inducing a possible increase in carbohydrate metabolism, salbutamol inhalation did not cause a significant increase in peak or mean power during a 30-second Wingate test.

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