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Sodium Bicarbonate Ingestion and Boxing Performance

Siegler, Jason C; Hirscher, Kristian

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 1 - p 103-108
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181a392b2
Original Research

Siegler, JC and Hirscher, K. Sodium bicarbonate ingestion and boxing performance. J Strength Cond Res 24(1): 103-108, 2010-Boxing is a sport that consists of multiple high-intensity bouts separated by minimal recovery time and may benefit from a pre-exercise alkalotic state. The purpose of this study was to observe the ergogenic potential of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) ingestion on boxing performance. Ten amateur boxers volunteered to participate in 2 competitive sparring bouts. The boxers were prematched for weight and boxing ability and consumed either 0.3 g·kg−1 body weight (BW) of NaHCO3 (BICARB) or 0.045 g·kg−1 BW of NaCl placebo (PLAC) mixed in diluted low calorie-flavored cordial. The sparring bouts consisted of four 3-minute rounds, each separated by 1-minute seated recovery. Blood acid-base (pH, bicarbonate [HCO3 ], base excess [BE]), and performance (rates of perceived exertion [RPE], heart rate [HR] [HRave and HRmax], total punches landed successfully) profiles were analyzed before (where applicable) and after sparring. The results indicated a significant interaction effect for HCO3 (p ≤ 0.001) and BE (p < 0.001), but not for pH (p = 0.48). Post hoc analysis revealed higher presparring HCO3 and BE for the BICARB condition, but no differences between the BICARB and PLAC conditions postsparring. There was a significant increase in punches landed during the BICARB condition (p < 0.001); however, no significant interaction effects for HRave (p = 0.15), HRmax (p = 0.32), or RPE (p = 0.38). The metabolic alkalosis induced by the NaHCO3 loading elevated before and after sparring blood buffering capacity. In practical application, the findings suggest that a standard NaHCO3 loading dose (0.3 g·kg−1) improves punch efficacy during 4 rounds of sparring performance.

Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX, UK

All research took place in an applied setting at St Pauls Amateur Boxing Club, Hull, UK.

There has been no external funding supporting this research.

Address correspondence to Jason C. Siegler,

© 2010 National Strength and Conditioning Association