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  1. #1
    Registered User JakeEwing5's Avatar
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    Any Negative Effects W/ Ammonia Inhalants (Smelling Salts)?

    Hello everyone! I've been bodybuilding/powerlifting for about 6 months now since I graduated high school and have no more sports to consume my time, and at the start of the year I got into using smelling salt capsules. . I only use them on a lift I am uncertain about, such as a new rep PR on either my squat or deadlift, so I was using 1 capsule about once every 2 weeks. It started off as I was only using them for deadlifts, but since I recently overcame a lower back issue, I've started squatting, and I've now been using 1 capsule around 3 times a week (2 leg days, 1 back day a week).

    My question is, is there really any negative side effects to consistent, long-term use of an ammonia inhalant? I really love the energy and anger I get while using them, and want to use them more, but I'd hate to be hurting myself in the long-run. I used to only take a small sniff, but now I touch it to my nose and take a few heavy breaths of it until my eyes water. My nostrils burn, but I'm not sure if it's hurting me or not.

    Please give me some helpful feedback to my question. I'd prefer it to not be "BroScience", but more well-known facts. Help a 19 year old kid out! Thanks, Jake
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  2. #2
    Conditional username bigfor15's Avatar
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    The only side effect you'll ever have from ammonia inhalants is acute respiratory irritation. Your mucus membranes will ramp up production, your throat may feel sore, and your eyes might water. Those OTC capsules don't contain the percentage concentration necessary to do any long-term damage. That said, you should avoid them if you have any inflammation in your airway or a respiratory infection.
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  3. #3
    Registered User JakeEwing5's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by bigfor15 View Post
    The only side effect you'll ever have from ammonia inhalants is acute respiratory irritation. Your mucus membranes will ramp up production, your throat may feel sore, and your eyes might water. Those OTC capsules don't contain the percentage concentration necessary to do any long-term damage. That said, you should avoid them if you have any inflammation in your airway or a respiratory infection.
    I appreciate the reply,
    So pretty much keep using them unless I start to notice irritation with my nose or throat?

    Would you even say it's safe for me to use them on every heavy set of deadlifts, squats, leg presses, basically your most mentally/physically exhausting exercises? I doubt I'll be that "dependent" on them, but just wondering, thanks
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  4. #4
    Eric SumPersonGuy's Avatar
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    The only thing I might worry about using them that often is them losing their effectiveness. You don't want to get used to them (and I'm not saying you will, just something to consider).
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  5. #5
    's **** is bananas btlifter's Avatar
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    ugghh... I really hope you stop...

    I have no idea about the long-term health effects, i'm sure there aren't any positive ones, but there could very well be no negative ones either.
    ... that said, STOP

    They are going to mess your adrenal system up. There is a reason why guys can train hard for months on end, then perform 9 lifts in a day (a meet) and be worn out for weeks. It's neural fatigue. It's the same reason many O-lifters are able to go for pr lifts multiple times/day (there are other reasons as well) and not be burnt out... they don't get neurologically excited for them (with some exceptions)

    Besides all that, if you need all that extra mental stimulation to lift **** up multiple times/week one really has to question your motivation to be there in the first place.

    Besides all that, you're a kid... it's never good to be relying on drugs of any kind if you can avoid it... especially when you're 18
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  6. #6
    Registered User Jason2459's Avatar
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    Biggest negative to using smelling salts/ammonia caps is becoming to strong for your body and snapping up some tendons. This happened to my old training partner. He's in a wheel chair now and can't lift anything. Not pretty man. ammonia caps not once...
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  7. #7
    Chalk whore simp3204's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by btlifter View Post
    ugghh... I really hope you stop...

    I have no idea about the long-term health effects, i'm sure there aren't any positive ones, but there could very well be no negative ones either.
    ... that said, STOP

    They are going to mess your adrenal system up. There is a reason why guys can train hard for months on end, then perform 9 lifts in a day (a meet) and be worn out for weeks. It's neural fatigue. It's the same reason many O-lifters are able to go for pr lifts multiple times/day (there are other reasons as well) and not be burnt out... they don't get neurologically excited for them (with some exceptions)

    Besides all that, if you need all that extra mental stimulation to lift **** up multiple times/week one really has to question your motivation to be there in the first place.

    Besides all that, you're a kid... it's never good to be relying on drugs of any kind if you can avoid it... especially when you're 18
    See below

    Originally Posted by Jason2459 View Post
    Biggest negative to using smelling salts/ammonia caps is becoming to strong for your body and snapping up some tendons. This happened to my old training partner. He's in a wheel chair now and can't lift anything. Not pretty man. ammonia caps not once...
    I've seen this happen too many times.
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  8. #8
    dlt rocks my socks arian11's Avatar
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    The biggest downside I seen to them is I sometimes get too jacked up and forget about form. So maximal weight with no technique could lead to bad things. I only used them for maxing on deadlift before. I wouldn't wanna know how bad my squat or bench look on ammonia. Looks like you are coming off a back injury as well, so I'd be careful if you have the same thing happen to you when you take a whiff.
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  9. #9
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    Originally Posted by JakeEwing5 View Post
    H I was using 1 capsule about once every 2 weeks. It started off as I was only using them for deadlifts, but since I recently overcame a lower back issue, I've started squatting, and I've now been using 1 capsule around 3 times a week (2 leg days, 1 back day a week).
    Your intake of ammonia has increases sixfold recently, you should probably look in to rehab facilities before you hit rock bottom. Soon you will be mugging house cleaners or blowing grocery store stock boys for a hit of the good stuff.
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  10. #10
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    Originally Posted by btlifter View Post
    They are going to mess your adrenal system up. There is a reason why guys can train hard for months on end, then perform 9 lifts in a day (a meet) and be worn out for weeks. It's neural fatigue. watch the video below

    Besides all that, if you need all that extra mental stimulation to lift **** up multiple times/week one really has to question your motivation to be there in the first place. I question your motivation if you aren't using ammonia

    Besides all that, you're a kid... it's never good to be relying on drugs of any kind if you can avoid it... especially when you're 18 are you one of those people that consider caffeine a drug?
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  11. #11
    Push, Pull, Destroy! Anthony21's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JakeEwing5 View Post
    I appreciate the reply,
    So pretty much keep using them unless I start to notice irritation with my nose or throat?

    Would you even say it's safe for me to use them on every heavy set of deadlifts, squats, leg presses, basically your most mentally/physically exhausting exercises? I doubt I'll be that "dependent" on them, but just wondering, thanks
    Being dependent on some smelling salts is never a good thing, especially if you're trying to use it pretty much with every lift you do.
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  12. #12
    's **** is bananas btlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by showmestate08 View Post
    lmao this thread is ridiculous...

    Assuming this level of ridiculousness keeps up this will be my alst post, so no worries.

    YES, caffeine is a drug, it's a stimulant... obviously not to the same level of an amphetamine, but it still puts your body under stress. I also could give a **** what somebody takes, whether it is caffeine, ammonia, cell tech, or anything else... none of my business... I will say that the drug I'VE take with the most negative results was ibuprofen, I was up to about 15 extra strength ibuprofen a day when I was playing college basketball, and it ended poorly...

    Long story short, I have no problem with somebody using a drug, when somebody starts abusing the drug, problems CAN arise, with any drug.

    As far as the video is concerned, i've watched it... and I like it, love the mentality. Unfortunately, as is usually the case, it's the people who need to be concerned with "overtraining" that aren't, and it's the people who are in zero danger of getting anywhere close to overtraining who lose sleep over it. Additionally, Mark Bell is a guy who has done A LOT of awesome stuff for powerlifting, he's also not a scientist, nor has he reached the very upper echelons of strength (with the exception of his single-ply bench)...

    ----------------(waits for obligatory negs/flaming)-----------------------

    Anyway, as far as questioning my motivation, that's cute... but that's all I'll say about it, but suffice it to say, that the reason I CAN train the way I do... is because I remove myself from external stressors as much as I can....Your body doesn't distinguish between types of stress, whether it's lifting a heavy object, too much of a stimulant, relationship stress, lack of sleep, etc.... This is why SOME people, who are able to control their stress are able to train ridiculously hard (aka, squat heavy 6x/week) and make great progress, while others "burn out" if they train more than 3x/week,
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  13. #13
    Registered User zmcdole's Avatar
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    LOL I LOVE ME SOME NOSE TORK!!!!!!!!!! I use it several times a week and it works great everytime. Until I notice adverse side effects I'm gonna keep using it.

    People like Pete Rubish do it all the time, get completely jacked to lift heavy, etc. His biggest problem is gonna be the complete and utter destruction of his body from going heavy ALL THE TIME. I don't see how you can really get adrenal fatigue. You either have a burning hot desire to get stronger or you don't. I have it. Sure some days I don't feel as amped as others, but I still find a way to get as much out of myself as I can. Life is short man.

    As far as caffeine is concerned you need to assess yourself. I will use up to 400mg at a time (not a ton I know) and I don't cycle off. I only used 200mg last night and my energy levels were still through the roof. Some people build up a tolerance, some people can't use it at all, some people are in between. Find out where you're at and do what works for you. I don't believe in adrenal fatigue here either unless you're absolutely abusing the living **** out of it. Even then there's a guy on here who continues to get stronger yet he consumes enough caffeine to give an elephant a heart attack. It's different for everyone.
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  14. #14
    Registered User CheslinK's Avatar
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    Forgive my naiveté, but do ammonia caps really give you that much of a pump?

    How would a bump of blow be in comparison? Uppers really never did it for me except tweak my heart out, no increase in perceived energy.

    I can't see how smelling ammonia would really help increase strength in any way. I know there's lots of experiential proof, or placebo, to be shown. Just wondering.
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    Originally Posted by arian11 View Post
    The biggest downside I seen to them is I sometimes get too jacked up and forget about form. So maximal weight with no technique could lead to bad things. I only used them for maxing on deadlift before. I wouldn't wanna know how bad my squat or bench look on ammonia. Looks like you are coming off a back injury as well, so I'd be careful if you have the same thing happen to you when you take a whiff.
    this. I've overpsyched and missed a weight...

    other than that, no negative effects.
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  16. #16
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    Originally Posted by zmcdole View Post
    People like Pete Rubish do it all the time, get completely jacked to lift heavy, etc. His biggest problem is gonna be the complete and utter destruction of his body from going heavy ALL THE TIME.
    I think he'll be done in 10 years from injuries of going heavy too often, overpsyching and throwing form out the window and getting injuries, and being on a cocktail of drugs....
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    Originally Posted by CheslinK View Post
    Forgive my naiveté, but do ammonia caps really give you that much of a pump?

    How would a bump of blow be in comparison? Uppers really never did it for me except tweak my heart out, no increase in perceived energy.

    I can't see how smelling ammonia would really help increase strength in any way. I know there's lots of experiential proof, or placebo, to be shown. Just wondering.
    Have someone slap you in the nutsack really hard

    Thats pretty much the reaction you'll get out of ammonia, except your balls won't hurt
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    Originally Posted by bmontgomery87 View Post
    I think he'll be done in 10 years from injuries of going heavy too often, overpsyching and throwing form out the window and getting injuries, and being on a cocktail of drugs....
    injuries will do him in if he's not careful. There's nothing wrong with being psyched all the time. To be honest I think 10 years is pretty optimistic if he doesn't chill out real soon. He's got potential to squat 700 (no wraps), bench 400, and pull 800 all in the same meet. It will be a few years before I see that happening, but it could happen. He'll just need to chill and take the gains slow and steady. That doesn't seem to be the way he does it though.
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    's **** is bananas btlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by zmcdole View Post
    injuries will do him in if he's not careful. THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING PSYCHED ALL THE TIME. To be honest I think 10 years is pretty optimistic if he doesn't chill out real soon. He's got potential to squat 700 (no wraps), bench 400, and pull 800 all in the same meet. It will be a few years before I see that happening, but it could happen. He'll just need to chill and take the gains slow and steady. That doesn't seem to be the way he does it though.
    (see capitalized)
    ... That's the thing though, there IS something wrong with being psyched all the time. The ability to control one's level of psychological arousal is directly related to the ability to recoveyr from training induced physiological stress, being in a state of (for lack of a better term) "emotional homeostasis" can greatly increase tolerable training volume and intensity.

    Yes, Rubbish is a very impressive lifter, and you take ammonia all the time and are obviously a good lifter as well, it doesn't mean it's optimal though. I'm a good squatter and don't really do any mobility or soft tissue work for my lower body, doesn't mean that's optimal though (and, really... it's stupid of me not to, I gotta get my **** sorted out)

    You can find examples to go against any rule, at the end of the day though, everybody from Tushcerer, to Abadjiev, to Glenn Pendlay have touted the importance of mental control.
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    Originally Posted by btlifter View Post
    It's the same reason many O-lifters are able to go for pr lifts multiple times/day (there are other reasons as well) and not be burnt out... they don't get neurologically excited for them (with some exceptions)
    Are you sure its that reason & not the fact they only do one heavy movement in training(squatting & squatting variations) and everything else they do is sub-maximal weight? Are you sure its not that?
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    's **** is bananas btlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by InspecktaDeck View Post
    Are you sure its that reason & not the fact they only do one heavy movement in training(squatting & squatting variations) and everything else they do is sub-maximal weight? Are you sure its not that?
    Actually, many times weightlifters will attempt near maximal weights many times in a training session, and will often train snatch+c+j+squats all in one session, the typical weightlifter has more grueling sessions than the typical powerlifter... HOWEVER... I will grant you that the lifts they do are far less taxing then a maximal deadlift, or a wider stance squat (for various reasons, but mainly the reduced time under tension and weight).... If you read my post I DID mention
    "(there are many other reasons as well)"
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    Originally Posted by btlifter View Post
    HOWEVER... I will grant you that the lifts they do are far less taxing then a maximal deadlift, or a wider stance squat (for various reasons, but mainly the reduced time under tension and weight).... If you read my post I DID mention
    "(there are many other reasons as well)"
    Just say this instead of promoting some stress/mental control theory like it actually means half a ****.

    And lol @ you getting all butthurt for me criticizing your motivation right after you questioned OP's. Just because he chooses to use ammonia doesn't mean that he is any less motivated than you.
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  23. #23
    's **** is bananas btlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by showmestate08 View Post
    Just say this instead of promoting some stress/mental control theory like it actually means half a ****.

    And lol @ you getting all butthurt for me criticizing your motivation right after you questioned OP's. Just because he chooses to use ammonia doesn't mean that he is any less motivated than you.
    TeeHee, I don't know you, you don't know me... I am really not concerned about your thoughts on my motivation. I mentioned motivation to OP because I think ti's relevant, and sincerely something he should look at when considering what he chooses to do. You called into question my motivation to try to be a prick, there is a difference. For you to suggest lacking motivation is hilarious.... I could go into reasons "why" but, contrary to your last statement, i'm really not "butthurt" about it.

    But you are right though... neither stress nor your mental state affect your performance whatsoever.
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    ^^ The reason I say that is its not uncommon for weightlifters to squat near max very often. I have this thrown in my face in school all the time(I squat heavy every day why dont you?). What people fail to realize though is squatting heavy & often becomes less of a "feat" when its your only heavy movement. It would be like me benching heavy, then performing the other 2 lifts at 50% intensity and braging to people how I do all 3 lifts every work out. No hate AT ALL towards the sport of weightlifting or weightlifters themselves.
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    My point in both posts was that you cannot tell if someone is motivated/or the degree to which they are motivated based on whether or not they choose to use ammonia. If anything, I would think that someone seeking an extra “edge” would be just as motivated (if not more so) than someone who chooses not to—even if this “edge” has the potential to be unhealthy. But like you said, I don’t know you or the OP so obviously I have no idea of how serious either of you are about other factors related to powerlifting.

    And I guess I just don’t understand your ideas on mental control and external stressors. I understand how stressors like drugs, lack of sleep, etc. can impact training—but I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how the use of ammonia or getting too hyped all the time can negatively impact someone’s training. This thread is starting to give me stress.
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    's **** is bananas btlifter's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by showmestate08 View Post
    My point in both posts was that you cannot tell if someone is motivated/or the degree to which they are motivated based on whether or not they choose to use ammonia. If anything, I would think that someone seeking an extra “edge” would be just as motivated (if not more so) than someone who chooses not to—even if this “edge” has the potential to be unhealthy. But like you said, I don’t know you or the OP so obviously I have no idea of how serious either of you are about other factors related to powerlifting.

    And I guess I just don’t understand your ideas on mental control and external stressors. I understand how stressors like drugs, lack of sleep, etc. can impact training—but I have a hard time wrapping my mind around how the use of ammonia or getting too hyped all the time can negatively impact someone’s training. This thread is starting to give me stress.
    Thank you, I disagree with you... but this post was respectful, I appreciate that, and will answer respectfully as well.

    Regarding the OP's motivation, i'm not trying to "call him out" I was suggesting he consider something, I obviously have no clue how motivated he is. I understand why you would think that somebody seeking an "edge" would be as much, not if not more motivated then somebody who isn't, and I very much agree. The difference is that I don't "not use ammonia" because i'm unwilling... I don't use it (although I do at the meet) because it will (at least in my opinion) make me stronger long term to not use it.

    At it's purist Ammonia essentially provides ridiculous amounts of adrenaline and, motivation. Hence me suggesting somebody consider their own motivation if they are constantly relying on something else for it.

    As far as the "mental control and external stressors" and "getting too hyped all the time can negatively impact someone's training" goes... I'm not a scientist, I can't really break it down any more clearly than I have already, other then to say that your body has a finite recovery ability (not to say you can't change it's recovery ability, but it is finite)... which is to say, you can only place so much stress on it. It doesn't matter what form that stress is in (lifting weights, doing drugs, mental stimulation (ie. focusing on a baby at home, a new job, or finals at school) your body has to manage that stress to recover from it.

    *note, this is a long term adaption, we've all had the training sessions on 2.5 hours sleep where we've hit prs*

    edit: I will say, these aren't "my ideas" as I didn't come up with any of them, although I do TRY to utilize them
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    I huffed ammonia salts once. I woke up in a dumpster covered in blood with 10 other people... I was the only one still alive.




    Another side effect: Laryngospasm... and it f*cking sucks. I woke up from one in the middle of the night and right before it ended, I was looking for a knife so my girlfriend could give me a tracheotomy.

    I haven't used it in a while and don't really notice too big of a difference in my lifts or level of excitement for a big lift.
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    Originally Posted by btlifter View Post
    Thank you, I disagree with you... but this post was respectful, I appreciate that, and will answer respectfully as well.

    Regarding the OP's motivation, i'm not trying to "call him out" I was suggesting he consider something, I obviously have no clue how motivated he is. I understand why you would think that somebody seeking an "edge" would be as much, not if not more motivated then somebody who isn't, and I very much agree. The difference is that I don't "not use ammonia" because i'm unwilling... I don't use it (although I do at the meet) because it will (at least in my opinion) make me stronger long term to not use it.

    At it's purist Ammonia essentially provides ridiculous amounts of adrenaline and, motivation. Hence me suggesting somebody consider their own motivation if they are constantly relying on something else for it.

    As far as the "mental control and external stressors" and "getting too hyped all the time can negatively impact someone's training" goes... I'm not a scientist, I can't really break it down any more clearly than I have already, other then to say that your body has a finite recovery ability (not to say you can't change it's recovery ability, but it is finite)... which is to say, you can only place so much stress on it. It doesn't matter what form that stress is in (lifting weights, doing drugs, mental stimulation (ie. focusing on a baby at home, a new job, or finals at school) your body has to manage that stress to recover from it.

    *note, this is a long term adaption, we've all had the training sessions on 2.5 hours sleep where we've hit prs*

    edit: I will say, these aren't "my ideas" as I didn't come up with any of them, although I do TRY to utilize them
    Ammonia is a bronchodialator. In turn, the muscles responsible for breathing go into overdrive and the increased ventilation causes HR and BP to shott through the roof. I don't think the mechanism of action has anything to do with adrenaline.
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    Originally Posted by HamburgerTrain View Post
    Ammonia is a bronchodialator. In turn, the muscles responsible for breathing go into overdrive and the increased ventilation causes HR and BP to shott through the roof. I don't think the mechanism of action has anything to do with adrenaline.
    HT is right, ammonia is metabolized without any changes in adrenaline
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    i only use it for max pr deadlifts, i use otc ammonia salts, the nose tork salts WILL blow your head off,

    nose tork not even once
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