The aim of this study was to investigate whether caffeine and/or sodium citrate have an ergogenic effect on the 1,500-m exercise performance in elite wheelchair athletes. A placebo-controlled, randomized, cross-over and double-blind study design was conducted with the four treatments placebo, caffeine, sodium citrate and the combination of caffeine and sodium citrate. Nine healthy, elite wheelchair-racing athletes (median: [min; max] age: 28 y [23; 54]; height: 173 cm [165; 188]; weight: 62.9 kg [48.9; 68.4], category T53/54) completed the study. All athletes were national team members, including several Paralympic Games, World and European Championship medalists. The athletes performed a 1,500-m time trial four times on a wheelchair training roller. Time to complete 1,500-m, pH, bicarbonate and sodium concentration as well as lactate concentration were measured. The time to complete 1,500-m was not significantly different between the four treatments (placebo: 170.6 s [141.7; 232.0]; caffeine: 179.5 s [134.8; 239.6]; sodium citrate: 178.3 s [136.4; 247.1]; combination: 177.6 s [136.1; 256.2]). However, pH and bicarbonate concentrations were significantly increased with sodium citrate ingestion compared with placebo. Moreover, maximal lactate concentrations were significantly higher in the caffeine and the combination treatment compared with placebo. The supplementation with sodium citrate and/or caffeine did not provide an ergogenic effect on the 1,500-m exercise performance in wheelchair elite athletes.
Flueck is with the Institute of Human Movement Sciences and Sport, and Mettler the Institute of Food Nutrition and Health, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland. Perret is with the Institute of Sports Medicine, Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil, Switzerland.