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Sodium Bicarbonate Ingestion and Repeated Swim Sprint Performance

Siegler, Jason C; Gleadall-Siddall, Damien O

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181f55eb1
Original Research

Siegler, JC and Gleadall-Siddall, D0. Sodium bicarbonate ingestion and repeated swim sprint performance. J Strength Cond Res 24(11): 3105-3111, 2010-The purpose of the present investigation was to observe the ergogenic potential of 0.3 g·kg−1 of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) in competitive, nonelite swimmers using a repeated swim sprint design that eliminated the technical component of turning. Six male (181.2 ± 7.2 cm; 80.3 ± 11.9 kg; 50.8 ± 5.5 ml·kg−1·min−1 V̇O2max) and 8 female (168.8 ± 5.6 cm; 75.3 ± 10.1 kg; 38.8 ± 2.6 ml·kg−1·min−1 V̇O2max) swimmers completed 2 trial conditions (NaHCO3 [BICARB] and NaCl placebo [PLAC]) implemented in a randomized (counterbalanced), single blind manner, each separated by 1 week. Swimmers were paired according to ability and completed 8, 25-m front crawl maximal effort sprints each separated by 5 seconds. Blood acid-base status was assessed preingestion, pre, and postswim via capillary finger sticks, and total swim time was calculated as a performance measure. Total swim time was significantly decreased in the BICARB compared to PLAC condition (p = 0.04), with the BICARB condition resulting in a 2% decrease in total swim time compared to the PLAC condition (159.4 ± 25.4 vs. 163.2 ± 25.6 seconds; mean difference = 4.4 seconds; 95% confidence interval = 8.7-0.1). Blood analysis revealed significantly elevated blood buffering potential preswim (pH: BICARB = 7.48 ± 0.01, PLAC = 7.41 ± 0.01) along with a significant decrease in extracellular K+ (BICARB = 4.0 ± 0.1 mmol·L−1, PLAC = 4.6 ± 0.1 mmol·L−1). The findings suggest that 0.3 g·kg−1 NaHCO3 ingested 2.5 hours before exercise enhances the blood buffering potential and may positively influence swim performance.

Author Information

Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom

Address correspondence to Jason Siegler,


© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association