Effect of carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate ingestion on performance during a validated basketball simulation test

Gregg Afman, R M Garside, N Dinan, N Gant, J Betts, Clyde Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (SciVal)
449 Downloads (Pure)


Current recommendations for nutritional interventions in basketball are largely extrapolated from laboratory-based studies that are not sport-specific. We therefore adapted and validated a basketball simulation test relative to competitive basketball games using well-trained basketball players (n=10), then employed this test to evaluate the effects of two common pre-exercise nutritional interventions on basketball-specific physical and skilled performance. Specifically, in a randomised and counterbalanced order, participants ingested solutions providing either 75 g carbohydrate (sucrose) 45 min before exercise (Study A; n=10) or 2x0.2 g•kg-1 sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) 90 and 20 min before exercise (Study B; n=7), each relative to appropriate placebos (H2O and 2x0.14 g•kg-1 NaCl, respectively). Heart rate, sweat rate, pedometer count and perceived exertion did not systematically differ between the 60-min basketball simulation test and competitive basketball, with a strong positive correlation in heart rate response (r=0.9, P<0.001). Pre-exercise carbohydrate ingestion resulted in marked hypoglycaemia (<3.5 mmol•l-1) throughout the first quarter, coincident with impaired sprinting (+0.080.05 s; P=0.01) and lay-up shooting performance (8.5/11 versus 10.3/11 baskets; P<0.01). However, ingestion of either carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate ingestion prior to exercise offset fatigue such that sprinting performance was maintained into the final quarter relative to placebo (Study A: -0.070.04 s; P<0.01 and Study B: -0.080.05 s; P=0.02), although neither translated into improved skilled (lay-up shooting) performance. This basketball simulation test provides a valid reflection of physiological demands in competitive basketball and is sufficiently sensitive to detect meaningful changes in physical and skilled performance. While there are benefits of pre-exercise carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate ingestion, these should be balanced against potential negative side-effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)632-644
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Intermittent Exercise, Sucrose, Hypoglycaemia, Performance.


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of carbohydrate or sodium bicarbonate ingestion on performance during a validated basketball simulation test'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this