What is the Stuff That Powerlifters Sniff? (Answer)

Powerlifting is an intense physical activity that requires a great deal of strength and stamina. As such, many powerlifters are turning to tools and substances to help them achieve their goals. One such substance is smelling salts, which are often used by athletes as stimulants during training. But what do we really know about the effects of smelling salts on athletic performance? Let’s take a closer look to what is the stuff that powerlifters sniff.

The Effects of Smelling Salts on Athletic Performance

Smelling salts have been used since ancient times as a stimulant for athletes before they compete or train.

In modern times, there has been a resurgence in the use of smelling salts by powerlifters and other strength athletes to give themselves an edge during competitions or training sessions.

However, there is still very little scientific evidence available on the effectiveness or safety of using smelling salts as a stimulant.

Training for Personal Records

Training for personal records is a great way to push yourself to reach your fitness goals, however it also poses potential risks that should be taken seriously.

Respiratory irritation is one such risk – overexertion can lead to an increase in breathlessness and coughing. High-intensity exercise may also lead to higher than normal blood pressure, either directly or triggered by nerves due to the increased pressure of trying to reach a PR.

Lastly, there is the concept of masking underlying physical or mental issues- athletes motivated by personal bests may interpret bodily sensations as themselves pushing harder, even though those sensations could be signs of overtraining or even extreme fatigue which require attention from a medical professional.

So what does this mean for you?

Taking these risks into consideration, training for a PR should never come at the cost of ones health or safety.

Considerations When Deciding Whether to Use Smelling Salts or Not

Given that there is still very limited research available on the safety and efficacy of using smelling salts as stimulants for athletic performance, it is important for powerlifters to consider all factors before deciding whether or not it is right for them.

For instance, athletes should evaluate their own physical abilities and limitations before making any decision about whether or not they should use smelling salt prior to training or competition.

Additionally, they should discuss any potential health concerns with their healthcare provider if necessary before experimenting with any new supplement or tool that could potentially have an impact on their overall health and well-being.

Let me explain…

Study the Composition of the Product

Smelling salts are composed of two chemicals, ammonium carbonate and ammonia, that can stimulate an inhalation reflex in humans when inhaled.

The main component of smelling salts, ammonium carbonate, was discovered over 2,000 years ago and has been used to create what we now know as smelling salts. When these two chemicals come together they produce a pungent scent which serves to briefly clear the head and invoke an inhalation reflex.

This is a great tool for athletes who want to get the extra burst of energy needed during practice or games.

Even though this chemical combination does cause a rather unpleasant smell, it can provide a helpful boost for athletes and other individuals in need.

It Can Help You to Reach a New PR But…

Powerlifting is nothing short of an extraordinary feat of physical strength, so it’s no surprise that some athletes turn to ammonia inhalants (commonly known as smelling salts) to give their performance a boost.

Smelling salts work by mildly irritating the mucous membranes in the nose, and since ammonia is a type of volatile material, inhaling ammonia stimulates respiration.

This can provide a temporary kick in alertness from the ammonia-induced stimulatory effect on the nervous system and wakefulness caused by irritation to the mucous membranes.

This may be why ammonia has been used as an energizing agent for centuries.

Although this technique isn’t an officially sanctioned form of doping, enough athletes have resorted to using ammonia inhalants for performance enhancement in big competitions so that regulations have been put in place to monitor its use, as well as to set guidelines governing who should use it and when.

Be Careful!

There are many different purported performance-enhancing substances that athletes and bodybuilders have used in the past to give them a competitive edge.

Unfortunately, most of these supplements are overhyped and targeted at people who may be looking for a quick fix through stimulants or revivers.

While it is understandable why some people might be drawn to such products, there is currently no scientific evidence that definitively shows they improve performance in sports in any way.

As always, athletes should use caution when determining what substances to put into their bodies and should never rely solely on unfounded claims about the purported benefits of supplementation.

According to a trusted source:

“The real danger is that the injudicious use of these agents as a substitute for a medical assessment may delay optimal treatment and, as such, should not be recommended.”

Here’s why that matters…

Try Healthier Habits

A holistic approach to physical fitness is the most effective way to work toward achieving one’s desired level of physical wellness.

Those shortcuts or crutches like pain relievers, steroids, and smelling salts provide a temporary “bandaid” solution without addressing underlying issues that could be addressed through comprehensive and gradual exercise regimens.

It’s important to remember that physical fitness is an ongoing journey – not a one-time destination.

Exercising regularly while also eating nutritious meals, getting adequate rest, and staying hydrated are key components in taking care of our bodies over the long-term.

Everyone’s fitness journey will look different depending on individual circumstances, but it’s safe to say that reaching for smelling salts should always be avoided under any circumstances due to their potential health risks.

Instead, opt for healthier alternatives like yoga or going for a jog to start building good habits today.

Potential Risks Involved with Using the Substance During Training

Despite their popularity among some powerlifters, there are potential risks associated with using smelling salts during training or competition.

For example, some articles have suggested that inhaling large amounts of ammonia gas can be harmful to the respiratory system and can lead to adverse health effects in some cases.

Using these products during exercise could potentially cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, which could be dangerous for some individuals.

It’s generally best to avoid using smelling salts during exercise, as they are not a safe or effective performance-enhancing substance.

If you are feeling faint or dizzy during exercise, it’s important to stop immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.

Additionally, it is not clear how much ammonia gas needs to be inhaled before it becomes dangerous, so this should definitely be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to use smelling salts before engaging in any physical activity.


In conclusion, while feeling salt has been used historically by athletes as a stimulant prior to competing or training sessions, there is still very little scientific evidence regarding its effectiveness as well as potential risks involved with its use in physical activity like powerlifting.

Athletes must carefully consider their own physical capabilities and consult with their healthcare provider before deciding whether using smelling salt is right for them personally.

Ultimately, only you can make this decision based on your own particular situation and circumstances, so make sure you evaluate all factors involved first!

4.3/5 - (6 votes)


James Moore
James Moorehttps://www.ballercircuit.com
James is co-founder of BallerCircuit.com. He works as a fitness trainer and nutrition specialist. His main mission is to inspire people to relentlessly pursue their sport goals. He believes staying in shape has an overall positive effect on body, mind, and spirit.

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