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J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015 Feb 27;12:13. doi: 10.1186/s12970-015-0075-x. eCollection 2015.

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

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Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, St. Luke's Campus, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK.
Sport and Health Sciences, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, St. Luke's Campus, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK ; Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, Section of Human Physiology, Copenhagen Centre for Team Sport and Health, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Faculty of Natural and Health Sciences, University of the Faroe Islands, Jónas Broncks gøta 25. 3rd floor, Tórshavn, Faroe Islands ; Center of Health and Human Performance, Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden.



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.


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.


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.


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.


Blood lactate; Fatigue; Rating of perceived exertion; Team sport athletes; Yo-Yo IR2 test performance

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