Ergogenic effects of caffeine and sodium bicarbonate supplementation on intermittent exercise performance preceded by intense arm cranking exercise

Matthaus Marriott, Peter Krustrup, Magni Mohr
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2015, 12: 13

BACKGROUND: Caffeine and sodium bicarbonate ingestion have been suggested to improve high-intensity intermittent exercise, but it is unclear if these ergogenic substances affect performance under provoked metabolic acidification. To study the effects of caffeine and sodium bicarbonate on intense intermittent exercise performance and metabolic markers under exercise-induced acidification, intense arm-cranking exercise was performed prior to intense intermittent running after intake of placebo, caffeine and sodium bicarbonate.

METHODS: Male team-sports athletes (n = 12) ingested sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3; 0.4 b.w.), caffeine (CAF; 6 b.w.) or placebo (PLA) on three different occasions. Thereafter, participants engaged in intense arm exercise prior to the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level-2 (Yo-Yo IR2). Heart rate, blood lactate and glucose as well as rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were determined during the protocol.

RESULTS: CAF and NaHCO3 elicited a 14 and 23% improvement (P < 0.05), respectively, in Yo-Yo IR2 performance, post arm exercise compared to PLA. The NaHCO3 trial displayed higher [blood lactate] (P < 0.05) compared to CAF and PLA (10.5 ± 1.9 vs. 8.8 ± 1.7 and 7.7 ± 2.0 mmol.L(-1), respectively) after the Yo-Yo IR2. At exhaustion CAF demonstrated higher (P < 0.05) [blood glucose] compared to PLA and NaHCO3 (5.5 ± 0.7 vs. 4.2 ± 0.9 vs. 4.1 ± 0.9 mmol.L(-1), respectively). RPE was lower (P < 0.05) during the Yo-Yo IR2 test in the NaHCO3 trial in comparison to CAF and PLA, while no difference in heart rate was observed between trials.

CONCLUSIONS: Caffeine and sodium bicarbonate administration improved Yo-Yo IR2 performance and lowered perceived exertion after intense arm cranking exercise, with greater overall effects of sodium bicarbonate intake.

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