SODIUM BICARBONATE SUPPLEMENTATION ENHANCES PERFORMANCE IN THE LATTER HALF OF A 2000 m ROWING ERGOMETER TRIAL

Sale, C., Harris, R., Martin, D., Smith, P., Macklin, B., Elliott-Sale, K., & Hobson, R. M. (2013). Effect of sodium bicarbonate supplementation on 2000-m rowing performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 45(5), Supplement abstract number 2387.

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This study examined the effect of sodium bicarbonate supplementation on 2000 m rowing ergometer performance in male rowers (N = 20). Ss completed two 2000 m ergometer tests as fast as possible. Trials were 48 hours apart. Ss were supplemented prior to each exercise with 0.3 g/kgBM of sodium bicarbonate or a placebo (maltodextrin). The doses were administered as 0.2 g/kgBM four hours before the trial and 0.1 gkg/BM two hours before the trial in an effort to prevent gastrointestinal distress. Trials were conducted using a double-blinded, randomized, counterbalanced cross-over study design. Time to complete the 2000 m and time taken for each 500-m segment were recorded and blood lactate, bicarbonate, pH, and base excess were determined pre-exercise, immediately post-exercise, and five minutes post-exercise.

Although on the average faster by ~1.2 seconds, sodium bicarbonate supplementation was not statistically different to the placebo condition. However, within the total 2000-m trial, sections were significantly faster. Sodium bicarbonate produced faster third and fourth 500-m segments when compared to placebo. Bicarbonate, pH, and base excess fell and lactate were different between the trials and rose from pre-exercise to post-exercise.

Implication. Sodium bicarbonate supplementation is likely to be beneficial for males competing in 2000 m rowing events, particularly in the second half of the event.

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