Ergogenic Aids

Exercise and Sport Physiology 

  • Created by: Emily
  • Created on: 27-04-11 17:22

Dietary Manipulation

Pre-Comp meals And Carbohydrate Loading: 

(+) Increase glycogen stores

(+) Increase endurance and capacity, delaying fatique, allowing to work at higher intensity

(+) Legal

(-) Can disrupt pre event routine (psychological effects)

(-) Weight can increase - more water needed to store glycogen

(-) May feel weak after phase

BENEFITS: Long duration/ high endurance over 60/90 minutes (long distance runners)

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Dietary Manipulation cont.

Pre Match/ Competition:

(+) Increases liver glycogen stores just before the event on top of what is achieved in Carbohydrate loading, therefore same benefits

(+) Legal

(-) Digestive discomfort (especially is ingested 1 hour prior to performance

(-) Decreases muscle glucose stores, leading to earlier muscle fatique

BENEFITS: Any performer using glycogen as an energy source (aerobic and anaerobic)

Post Competition:

(+) Replenish glycogen stores increasing recovery from exercise

(+) in short duration exercise carbohydrate stores can be replensish in a few hours

(+) Legal

BENEFITS: Any performer utilising glycogen (important for next comp)

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Dietary Manipulation cont.

Food Intake During:

(+) Replenishes vital glycogen stores, delaying fatique 

(+) Legal 

BENEFITS: Any performer if lasts longer than 45 minutes (football, rugby)   Fluid intake During:

  • Hypotonic Drinks (lower levels of glucose then blood), vital in prolonged activity for fluid replenishment preventing dehydration
  • Isotonic Drinks: (equal levels of glycogen) fluid hydration and replenishment of glucose during events more than an hour
  • Hypertonic Drinks: Recovery drink (high levels of glucose) Increase dehydration during exercise.

(+) Optimises performance by maintaining temp control by sweating and reducing blood viscosity (+) Legal

(-) Decrease in performance if dehydrated

BENEFITS: All performers training especially those in aerobic endurance and hot conditions

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Other Aids: Creatine Supplements

(+) Increases PC stores to prolong ATP/PC energy production 

(+) Maintain longer power output

(+) Aids recovery, increases strength, improved quality of training

(+) Legal

(-) Increase in body mass and dehydration .. leading to muscle cramps

(-) Puts stress on organs leading to disease 

BENEFITS:  Power performers for short high intensity (100m) Also middle distance runners

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Other Aids: Human Growth hormone

(+) Limited research but thought to increase fat free mass, blood glucose levels, stimulation of bone growth, heal soft tissue, breakdown of FFA's

(+) conflicting research regarding Muscle mass/strength

(-) Hypertrophy of internal organs, muscle and joint weakness, hypertension and heart disease

BENEFITS: aerobic and power performers. Good for performers undertaking higher intensity training (require soft tissue repair)

(-) Banned

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Other Aids: Gene Doping

(+) Potential improvement in all physiological and metabolic functioning of the body

(-) Not much research so unaware of any risk factors

(-) Banned

BENEFITS: Potentially all perfomers

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Other Aids: Blood Doping

(+) Increases total volume of red blood cells increasing haemoglobin levels increasing oxygen transportation

(+) Increases o2 uptake - Vo2 Max

(+) Increased energy delivery - delayed fatigue

(-) Lower HR- Blood can overload the CV system leading to clotting and heart failure

(-) Risk of HIV if using the same blood transfusion 

(-) Danger if body becomes dehydrated - decreasing plasma volume increasing blood viscosity forcing heart to work harder

(-) Banned

BENEFITS: Endurance athletes performers relying on supply of o2

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Other Aids: Recombinant Erythropoietin (Rh EPO)

(+) Same as blood doping but can increase red blood cells from 45% to 65%

(+) Therefore greater increase in the factors improved in blood doping

(-) Same as blood doping (overloading CV system, forcing heart to work harder)

(-) Banned

BENEFIT : endurance athletes relying on o2 (cyclists mainly caught using it)

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Cooling Aids

Ice Baths, Ice vests, RICE (rest, ice, compression, Elevation)

(+) Reduce core temperature to improve performance

(+) Prevent injury, treat pain, prevent ease

(+) Helps remove lactic acid, flushes dilated capillaries with o2 rich blood

(+) Reduces muscle damage and decreases soreness from DOMS

(+) Legal

(-) Some ice is immediately painful 

(-) Ice burns if placed directly onto skin 

(-) Tissue impairment if kept on for too long

(-) May cause muscle reaction (angina) if used on chest area

BENEFITS: all performers with soft tissue injuries, DOMS, Contact activity, or speed up recovery 

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Training Aids

Pulleys, Parachutes

(+) Increased specificity and variety of resistant training

(+) Add variation and motivation

(+) Legal

(-) Not 100% to specific activity 

(-) No health risks

BENEFITS: Specificity in running swimming and throwing events

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(+) Provides a Form of Carbohydrate energy, dulls pain sensation

(+) Reduces anxiety, increases self- confidence

(+) legal

(-) lead to dehydration

(-) impairs psycho motor function, concentration

(-) No effect on power, strength, endurance

BENEFITS: Common in darts and snooker (but rarely used)

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(+) Increases CNS stimulation, mental awareness and concentration

(+) Breakdown of FFA's saving glycogen stores

(+) Decreased fatique

(+) Legal

(-) Can increase dehydration, BP

(-) Cause nervousness, tremors, shaking

(-) Addictive

 BENEFITS: Endurance performers but now also used by anaerobic performers

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Anabolic Steriods

(+) Increase muscle Mass - Therefore strength and power

(+) Increase ability to train harder for longer - aid in recovert

(+) Increase aggressiveness may be useful in some activities


(-) Risks of liver damage, Raised BP, raised LDH cholesterol leading to cardiovascular disease

(-) Males: shrinking testicles, reduced sperm count, baldness, breast enlargement

(-) Females: Facial hair, deepening voice, enlargement of genitals, breast reduction

BENEFIT: High intensity, short duration (weight lifters, sprinters). Also injured performers to speed up injury 

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