Effects of 4 Weeks of β-Alanine Supplementation on Swim-Performance Parameters in Water Polo Players

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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In water polo, several high-intensity efforts are performed, leading to the fatigue process due to accumulation of hydrogen ions, and thus β-alanine supplementation could be an efficient strategy to increase the intramuscular acid buffer.

Purpose

To investigate whether 4 wk of β-alanine supplementation enhances parameters related to water polo performance.

Methods

Twenty-two highly trained male water polo players of national level were randomly assigned to receive 28 d of either β-alanine or a placebo (4.8 g/d of the supplement in the first 10 d and 6.4 g/d in the final 18 d). The participants performed 30-s maximal tethered swimming (30TS), 200-m swimming (P200m), and 30-s crossbar jumps (30CJ) before and after the supplementation period.

Results

The β-alanine group presented significant increases in 30TS for mean force (P = .04; Δ = 30.5% ± 40.4%) and integral of force (P = .05; Δ = 28.0% ± 38.0%), as well as P200m (P = .05; Δ = –2.2% ± 2.6%), while the placebo group did not significantly differ for mean force (P = .13; Δ = 24.1% ± 33.7%), integral of force (P = .12; Δ = 24.3% ± 35.1%), or P200m (P = .10; Δ = –1.6% ± 3.8%). However, there was no significant group effect for any variable, and the magnitude-based-inference analysis showed unclear outcomes between groups (Cohen d ± 95%CL mean force = 0.16 ± 0.83, integral of force = 0.12 ± 0.84, and P200m = 0.05 ± 0.30). For 30CJ the results were similar, with improvements in both groups (placebo, Δ = 14.9% ± 14.1%; β-alanine, Δ = 16.9% ± 18.5%) but with no significant interaction effect between groups and an unclear effect (0.14 ± 0.75).

Conclusion

Four weeks of β-alanine supplementation does not substantially improve performance of 30TS, P200m, or 30CJ in highly trained water polo athletes compared with a control group.

Brisola and Milioni are with the Postgraduate Program in Movement Sciences, and Zagatto, the Laboratory of Physiology and Sport Performance, Sao Paulo State University (UNESP), Rio Claro, Brazil. Papoti is with the School of Physical Education and Sport of Ribeirão Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Zagatto (azagatto@yahoo.com.br) is corresponding author.