Research Topic

Ergogenic Aids: Physiological and Performance Responses

About this Research Topic

In relation to sport, ergogenic aids are substances, devices, techniques, or phenomena that are work-producing and are believed to increase performance, directly or indirectly. Several types of ergogenic aids promise to enhance exercise or sports performance and these have typically been classified by their physiological, nutritional, pharmacological, mechanical, and psychological mechanisms. However, ergogenic aids do not function by one mechanism alone. For example, sodium bicarbonate may be considered as a physiological and nutritional aid, as well as a psychological aid. The same reasoning is applied for compression garments and ischemic preconditioning (mechanical, physiological and psychological).

These interventions assure to increase energy availability and/or speed up the recovery process (acutely or chronically), thus resulting in performance enhancement. However, many amateur and professional athletes regularly use these ergogenic aids without any scientific basis. On the other hand, scientists also have difficulty performing studies meeting the primary research design concerns, such as “ideal” amount of the substance/intervention; participants of the study (e.g., amateur vs. professional); specific exercise task (e.g., endurance vs. short-term events); placebo-controlled and double-blind studies. Therefore, there is a need for scientific studies that underpin the use and efficacy of these strategies and mechanisms.

This Research Topic aims to present scientific findings from well-controlled research studies that show efficacy in or refute strategies to enhance exercise performance. We place emphasis on the physiological mechanisms underpinning ergogenic aids, including the effect of ergogenic aids on acute exercise, training programs studying ergogenic aid effect at the molecular and cellular levels to individual systems, and the integrated multi-systemic response.

We encourage the submission of Original Research, Review, Mini-Review articles, as well as Case Reports and Brief Research Reports. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
• Hyperoxic, hypoxic and ischemic preconditioning;
• Post-activation potentiation;
• Music; video clips;
• Warmups and re-warmups;
• Foam rolling (and other myofascial massages);
• Compression garments; menthol substances;
• Acute nutritional and supplemental strategies;
• Grounding;
• Match or competition day interventions
• Equipment type, etc.
• Timing of ergogenic aid delivery

Topic Editor, Mark Russell, has received a research-related grant from Rugby Football League and Castleford Tigers RLFC. Topic Editor, Michael Roberts, received research-related grants from Ritual, Compound Solutions and The Peanut Institute. Topic Editor, Shawn Arent, received a research-related grant from Compound Solutions, Inc. and Quest Diagnostics, and holds a patent related to a high-potency black tea extract. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regard to the Research Topic subject.


Keywords: performance, activation, preconditioning, ergogenic aid, enhancement intervention


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

In relation to sport, ergogenic aids are substances, devices, techniques, or phenomena that are work-producing and are believed to increase performance, directly or indirectly. Several types of ergogenic aids promise to enhance exercise or sports performance and these have typically been classified by their physiological, nutritional, pharmacological, mechanical, and psychological mechanisms. However, ergogenic aids do not function by one mechanism alone. For example, sodium bicarbonate may be considered as a physiological and nutritional aid, as well as a psychological aid. The same reasoning is applied for compression garments and ischemic preconditioning (mechanical, physiological and psychological).

These interventions assure to increase energy availability and/or speed up the recovery process (acutely or chronically), thus resulting in performance enhancement. However, many amateur and professional athletes regularly use these ergogenic aids without any scientific basis. On the other hand, scientists also have difficulty performing studies meeting the primary research design concerns, such as “ideal” amount of the substance/intervention; participants of the study (e.g., amateur vs. professional); specific exercise task (e.g., endurance vs. short-term events); placebo-controlled and double-blind studies. Therefore, there is a need for scientific studies that underpin the use and efficacy of these strategies and mechanisms.

This Research Topic aims to present scientific findings from well-controlled research studies that show efficacy in or refute strategies to enhance exercise performance. We place emphasis on the physiological mechanisms underpinning ergogenic aids, including the effect of ergogenic aids on acute exercise, training programs studying ergogenic aid effect at the molecular and cellular levels to individual systems, and the integrated multi-systemic response.

We encourage the submission of Original Research, Review, Mini-Review articles, as well as Case Reports and Brief Research Reports. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
• Hyperoxic, hypoxic and ischemic preconditioning;
• Post-activation potentiation;
• Music; video clips;
• Warmups and re-warmups;
• Foam rolling (and other myofascial massages);
• Compression garments; menthol substances;
• Acute nutritional and supplemental strategies;
• Grounding;
• Match or competition day interventions
• Equipment type, etc.
• Timing of ergogenic aid delivery

Topic Editor, Mark Russell, has received a research-related grant from Rugby Football League and Castleford Tigers RLFC. Topic Editor, Michael Roberts, received research-related grants from Ritual, Compound Solutions and The Peanut Institute. Topic Editor, Shawn Arent, received a research-related grant from Compound Solutions, Inc. and Quest Diagnostics, and holds a patent related to a high-potency black tea extract. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regard to the Research Topic subject.


Keywords: performance, activation, preconditioning, ergogenic aid, enhancement intervention


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

11 November 2020 Abstract
06 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

11 November 2020 Abstract
06 April 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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