The following information was released in the April 2015 “DRUG CRACKDOWN” issue of Natural Magazine International. This issue served as the official media announcement of the UPCA/UPCAA.


The polygraph – popularly referred to as the lie detector – has been used in various forms in Natural Bodybuilding for more than 30 years to test for banned substances. It remains the most effective method of testing retroactively because it can reveal the use of banned substances infinitely in time.

Why is the time factor so important? Because the urine test – the foundation of almost every natural organization – can only detect whether contestants are clean at the time they provide their test sample. Depending on the substance, banned substances might be retained in the body for as little as 4 days for some substances (clenbuterol) and up to 18 months or more for others (nandrolone decanoate). So, contestants can simply stop using certain substances far enough in advance to avoid detection while still benefiting from their use.

The polygraph – the TRUE polygraph – measures and records different physiological indices such as heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and skin conductivity while a subject is responding to a series of specific questions. Responses are recorded on a chart to reveal truth or deception and scored by the examiner and supported by pre-programed computerized scoring algorithms.

The true polygraph, however, is NOT the abbreviated so-called “polygraph” currently used by several natural organizations. What started out as a true polygraph in Natural Bodybuilding more than 30 years ago has morphed into a condensed distortion of a true polygraph. This has given competitors a false sense of security that, because everyone is “polygraph” tested, it must be a level playing field.


But, in fact, because of its brevity and lack of generally-accepted polygraph protocol, the abbreviated polygraph is considerably unreliable and is inevitably subject to more false positives and inconclusive results. However, since the natural organizations have consistently refused to reveal the names of those contestants who fail these so-called “polygraphs” anyway, no one has ever questioned the efficacy of the testing.

A true polygraph is subject to strict standards for how a test is conducted, including a pretest interview (psychophysiological detection of deception interview), a preparatory “acquaintance test” in addition to specific issue testing (with at least three charts), and post test interview. All combined should take not less than 90 minutes per examination.

Moreover, motion sensors are important for true polygraphs to detect deliberate movement by subjects to thwart the test. These sensors currently include a seat pad, foot pads, arm pads, and recently a headset has even been introduced for detecting facial and jaw movements. Both audio and video recordings of each polygraph are also mandated and allow a test to be separately reviewed by another examiner for quality control and retesting if the results are challenged by a failed competitor (similar to testing the backup sample in the urinalysis).

April 2015 “DRUG CRACKDOWN” issue – Natural Magazine International. (please note that all of the “Drug Crackdown” information contained in this issue is detailed on the UPCA website). If you would like the magazine version visit the link above.

Translate »