Following their victory over Spain and defeat by Croatia, news is coming out that the 2018 FIFA Russia World Cup 2018 team are using ammonia to help with their breathing.
Russia World Cup 2018 team sniff ammonia
The World Cup team doctor confirms the team use ammonia to help with bloodflow and breathing. Ammonia is the predominant ingredient in smelling salts, which are available over the counter. Smelling salts only release a small amount of ammonia gas, as they are designed to arouse a person from unconsciousness. Consequently, no adverse health problems are reported.
Ammonia is not on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) Prohibited List for 2018. However, for a while now, the sport of professional boxing bans the use of smelling salts.
When you sniff smelling salts, ammonia gas releases and irritates the mucous membranes of your nose and lungs. In turn, this triggers a breathing reflex, causing the respiratory muscles to work faster. This makes the body think it’s working harder and heart rate increases. In turn, you feel you have more ‘power’. However, because of this ‘feeling’ of additional power, it’s thought that sniffing ammonia could actually have a placebo effect. The reason being, if a player feels more powerful, alert and awake after sniffing ammonia, their confidence and self-belief increases. Consequently, an improvement in performance is felt.
Improve breathing strength & stamina
Inspiratory muscle training (IMT) is a form of resistance training for the breathing muscles. IMT is scientifically proven to increase breathing muscle strength and stamina. Furthermore, breathing fatigue will reduce as a result. As a consequence, sports performance improves. Additionally, performing an inspiratory muscle warm-up prior to a match helps prevent breathlessness from the start. This is especially beneficial for substitutes on the bench as they wait to replace a team-mate on the pitch.
Out of breath when playing football?
It’s no surprise players feel out of breath or tire easily when playing football. They sprint, change direction and cover around 10 kilometres during the 90 minutes of play. In fact, sprinting alone will drive breathing to its highest level, inducing a feeling of extreme breathlessness. This is an issue because players must recover quickly in order to continue contributing to the game.