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The effects of sodium bicarbonate supplementation on simulated soccer performance

Bennett, Thomas Christopher


Thomas Christopher Bennett



Introduction – It is well documented in football that players can enter a fatigued state during the latter stages of a game which can consequently reduce physical performance and therefore the match outcome. During football, high intensity running such as sprinting can alter an individual’s acid-base balance and aid in fatigue occurring. Therefore it could be possible that supplementing sodium bicarbonate using a split pre-match and half time dosage protocol could be implemented in order to enhance the extracellular buffering of H⁺, prevent fatigue and optimize football performance. The main purpose of this study, was to use sodium bicarbonate as a nutritional intervention and examine its effects upon simulated football performance.

Methods – Ten healthy male footballers (Mean age = 22.1 ± 2.4, height = 181.1 ± 3.4, weight = 73.9 ± 4.1) participated in this study in which adopted a double blind and randomised design. All participants completed two trials in which they consumed a placebo (PL: Sodium Chloride) in one trial and a supplement (SB: Sodium Bicarbonate) in the other. This occurred with the 1st sodium bicarbonate dose being 0.2g/kg/BW and consumed 30 minutes prior to testing and the 2nd dose being 0.1g/kg/BW which was consumed immediately at half time. The placebo dosage was 0.045g/kg/BW and was split into two equal doses and consumed at the same time points. All participants were required to complete the 90 minute football simulation on the non-motorised treadmill in each trial. During each trial, sprint distance, variable run distance and total distance were measured as performance variables. Blood samples were also collected for acid-base analysis. Also collected was oxygen consumption, heart rate, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and gastro intestinal distress tolerability.

Results – The main findings of this study were; 1) Sodium bicarbonate supplementation resulted in a small beneficial effect upon total sprint distance; 2) Sodium bicarbonate supplementation resulted in a small negative effect upon total variable run distance and 3) Sodium bicarbonate supplementation resulted in a trivial effect upon the total distance covered. It was also found that sodium bicarbonate supplementation resulted in acid-base balance being maintained during the latter stages, as well as a high tolerability to sodium bicarbonate amongst participants.

Conclusion – To conclude, the present study found that sodium bicarbonate can enhance sprint performance. However, it also highlights that variable run performance and therefore overall performance can be reduced when supplementing sodium bicarbonate during a football simulation. Future research is required looking into other possible interventions to counteract fatigue in football.


Bennett, T. C. (2014). The effects of sodium bicarbonate supplementation on simulated soccer performance. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Aug 24, 2015
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Sports sciences
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Sport, Health and Exercise Science, The University of Hull
Award Date Sep 1, 2014


Thesis (1.4 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2014 Bennett, Thomas Christopher. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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