This study was designed to examine the effects of acute inhalation of the bronchodilator, albuterol (Proventil, Schering Corp.), on high intensity power output. Fifteen healthy nonasthmatic subjects (eight male, seven female, 18-33 yr) performed four supramaximal 15-s rides on a bicycle ergometer. Rides were arranged in pairs with a 10-min rest interval. Each pair of rides was preceded by a 5-min warm-up. Sessions were separated by a minimum of 48 h. The study design was fully randomized and double blind. Ten minutes prior to each pair of rides subjects inhaled two metered doses (180 micrograms) of albuterol (A) or a placebo (P). Individual ANOVAs revealed a significant difference between the A and P treatment for peak power (A = 886.6 W, P = 858.3 W) and fatigue (A = 27.2%, P = 24.4%). Mean changes in FEF25-75% (A = 0.712, P = 0.040 l.s-1), FEV1.0 (A = 0.188, P = 0.007 l), and PEF (A = 0.573, P = -0.155 l.s-1) were also statistically significant; however, these changes did not correlate to the anaerobic performance changes. No significant differences were found between treatments for heart rate increases resulting from the power test (A = 56.73 bpm, P = 53.20 bpm). These results indicate an ergogenic effect of the bronchodilator on short-term power output independent of impact on respiratory smooth muscle, with no effect on cardiac response.