Journal of Trainology



November 2019; Vol. 8, No. 2: Pages 27-30

The effects of honest and dishonest placebo ingestion immediately prior to VO2peak and handgrip strength testing

Lindy M. Rossow, Jessica Moon, Landon Hiebert, Christian Espitia, Christopher A. Fahs


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of both known ("honest") and unknown ("dishonest") placebo ingestion on VO2peak to see if placebo ingestion would influence the test outcome by influencing the psychological component of this test. A secondary purpose was to examine these effects on isometric handgrip strength. We hypothesized that placebo (honest or dishonest) ingestion prior to a VO2peak test would increase VO2peak compared to a control condition. We further hypothesized that isometric handgrip strength would be greater during both conditions of acute placebo ingestion compared to a control condition. Design: In a randomized, cross-over, counterbalanced design, subjects performed three trials: exercise tests with honest placebo, exercise tests with dishonest placebo, exercise tests only (control condition). Method: 41 subjects (28 males) aged 24 + 7 years were tested. RM ANOVAs (3 x 1) were used to analyze VO2peak and handgrip strength across conditions. RM ANOVAs (3 x 1) were used to determine if test order influenced VO2peak and handgrip strength. (Alpha = 0.05.) Results: No differences were found across conditions for either VO2peak (p = 0.360) or handgrip strength (p = 0.474). Further, no differences were found for trial order for either VO2peak (p = 0.766) or handgrip strength (p = 0.067). Conclusions: Administration of both an honest and a dishonest placebo immediately prior to VO2peak and handgrip testing resulted in no differences in performance compared to each other or a control trial. The VO2peak test is a robust exercise test not influenced by immediately-prior pre-workout supplement consumption.

Received October 18, 2019; accepted November 22, 2019