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J Appl Physiol (1985). 1986 Aug;61(2):417-20.

beta-Blockade used in precision sports: effect on pistol shooting performance.


In a double-blind cross-over study of 33 marksmen (standard pistol, 25 m) the adrenergic beta 1-receptor blocker, metoprolol, was compared to placebo. Metoprolol obviously improved the pistol shooting performance compared with placebo. Shooting improved by 13.4% of possible improvement (i.e., 600 points minus actual points obtained) as an average (SE = 4%, 2P less than 0.002). The most skilled athletes demonstrated the clearest metoprolol improvement. We found no correlation between the shooting improvement and changes in the cardiovascular variables (i.e., changes of heart rate and systolic blood pressure) and no correlation to the estimated maximum O2 uptake. The shooting improvement is an effect of metoprolol on hand tremor. Emotional increase of heart rate and systolic blood pressure seem to be a beta 1-receptor phenomenon.

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