The effects of sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) ingestion on high intensity cycling capacity

Matthew F Higgins, Rob S. James, Mike J Price

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Ten healthy, non-cycling trained males (age: 21.2 ± 2.2 years, body mass: 75.9 ± 13.4 kg, height: 178 ± 6 cm, [Vdot]O2PEAK: 46 ± 10 ml · kg−1 · min−1) performed a graded incremental exercise test, two familiarisation trials and six experimental trials. Experimental trials consisted of cycling to volitional exhaustion at 100%, 110% and 120% WPEAK, 60 min after ingesting either 0.3 g · kg−1 body mass sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) or 0.1 g · kg−1 body mass sodium chloride (placebo). NaHCO3 ingestion increased cycling capacity by 17% at 100% WPEAK (327 vs. 383 s; P = 0.02) although not at 110% WPEAK (249 vs. 254 s; P = 0.66) or 120% WPEAK (170 vs. 175 s; P = 0.60; placebo and NaHCO3 respectively). Heart rate (P = 0.02), blood lactate (P = 0.001), pH (P < 0.001), [HCO3 −], (P < 0.001), and base excess (P < 0.001) were greater in all NaHCO3 trials. NaHCO3 attenuated localised ratings of perceived exertion (RPEL) to a greater extent than placebo only at 100% WPEAK (P < 0.02). Ratings of abdominal discomfort and gut fullness were mild but higher for NaHCO3. NaHCO3 ingestion significantly improves continuous constant load cycling at 100% WPEAK due to, in part, attenuation of RPEL.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)972-981
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sports Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


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