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  • Author: Cathryn L. Pruscino x
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Cathryn L. Pruscino, Megan L.R. Ross, John R. Gregory, Bernard Savage and Troy R. Flanagan

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3), caffeine, and their combination on repeated 200-m freestyle performance. Six elite male freestyle swimmers ingested NaHCO3 (0.3 g/kg; B), caffeine (6.2 ± 0.3 mg/kg; C), a combination of both (B+C), and placebo (P) on 4 separate occasions before completing 2 maximal 200-m freestyle time trials (TT1 and TT2) separated by 30 min. No significant differences (p = .06) were observed for performance in TT1 (B 2:03.01 ± 0:03.68 min, C 2:02.42 ± 0:03.17 min, B+C 2:01.69 ± 0:03.19 min, P 2:03.77 ± 0:03.21 min) or TT2 (B 2:02.62 ± 0:04.16 min, C 2:03.90 ± 0:03.58 min, B+C 2:01.70 ± 0:02.84 min, P 2:04.22 ± 0:03.75 min). The drop-off in performance time from TT1 to TT2, however, was significantly greater when C was ingested than with B (−1.5%, p = .002) or B+C (–1.2%, p = .024). This is likely because of the lower blood pH and slower recovery of blood HCO3 post-TT1 after C ingestion. These findings suggest that the ergogenic benefit of taking C alone for repeated 200-m swimming performance appears limited. When combined with NaHCO3, however, its negative impact on repeated maximal exercise performance is reversed.

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Peter D. Kupcis, Gary J. Slater, Cathryn L. Pruscino and Justin G. Kemp

Purpose:

The effect of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) ingestion on prerace hydration status and on 2000 m ergometer performance in elite lightweight rowers was examined using a randomized, cross-over, double-blinded design.

Methods:

To simulate body mass (BM) management strategies common to lightweight rowing, oarsmen reduced BM by approx. 4% in the 24 h preceding the trials, and, in the 2 h before performance, undertook nutritional recovery consisting of mean 43.2 kJ/kg, 2.2 g of CHO per kilogram, 31.8 mg of Na+ per kilogram, 24.3 mL of H2O per kilogram, and NaHCO3 (0.3 g of NaHCO3 per kilogram BM) or placebo (PL; 0.15 g of corn flour per kilogram BM) at 70 to 90 min before racing.

Results:

At 25 min before performance, NaHCO3 had increased blood pH (7.48 ± 0.02 vs PL: 7.41 ± 0.03, P = .005) and bicarbonate concentrations (29.1 ± 1.8 vs PL: 23.9 ± 1.6 mmol/L, P < .001), whereas BM, urine specific gravity, and plasma volume changes were similar between trials. Rowing ergometer times were similar between trials (NaHCO3: 397.8 ± 12.6; PL: 398.6 ± 13.8 s, P = .417), whereas posttest bicarbonate (11.6 ± 2.3 vs 9.4 ± 1.8 mmol/L, P = .003) and lactate concentration increases (13.4 ± 1.7 vs 11.9 ± 1.9 mmol/L, P = .001) were greater with NaHCO3.

Conclusion:

Sodium bicarbonate did not further enhance rehydration or performance in lightweight rowers when undertaking recommended post-weigh-in nutritional recovery strategies.