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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Mar;113(3):743-52. doi: 10.1007/s00421-012-2484-8. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Sodium bicarbonate supplementation improves hypertrophy-type resistance exercise performance.

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School of Human Performance and Recreation, University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, MS, USA.


The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO(3)) administration on lower-body, hypertrophy-type resistance exercise (HRE). Using a double-blind randomized counterbalanced design, 12 resistance-trained male participants (mean ± SD; age = 20.3 ± 2 years, mass = 88.3 ± 13.2 kg, height = 1.80 ± 0.07 m) ingested 0.3 g kg(-1) of NaHCO(3) or placebo 60 min before initiation of an HRE regimen. The protocol employed multiple exercises: squat, leg press, and knee extension, utilizing four sets each, with 10-12 repetition-maximum loads and short rest periods between sets. Exercise performance was determined by total repetitions generated during each exercise, total accumulated repetitions, and a performance test involving a fifth set of knee extensions to failure. Arterialized capillary blood was collected via fingertip puncture at four time points and analyzed for pH, [HCO(3)(-)], base excess (BE), and lactate [Lac(-)]. NaHCO(3) supplementation induced a significant alkaline state (pH: NaHCO(3): 7.49 ± 0.02, placebo: 7.42 ± 0.02, P < 0.05; [HCO(3)(-)]: NaHCO(3): 31.50 ± 2.59, placebo: 25.38 ± 1.78 mEq L(-1), P < 0.05; BE: NaHCO(3): 7.92 ± 2.57, placebo: 1.08 ± 2.11 mEq L(-1), P < 0.05). NaHCO(3) administration resulted in significantly more total repetitions than placebo (NaHCO(3): 139.8 ± 13.2, placebo: 134.4 ± 13.5), as well as significantly greater blood [Lac(-)] after the exercise protocol (NaHCO(3): 17.92 ± 2.08, placebo: 15.55 ± 2.50 mM, P < 0.05). These findings demonstrate ergogenic efficacy for NaHCO(3) during HRE and warrant further investigation into chronic training applications.

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