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