Does acute dietary nitrate supplementation enhance well-trained hockey players’ performance in game specific intermittent exercise?
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Previous research has suggested that dietary supplementation of inorganic nitrate (NO3) through the ingestion of beetroot juice, may improve endurance and extend tolerance to high intensity exercise. The possible ergogenic effects are unclear when testing 'welltrained' team sport athletes performance in intermittent exercise. This study therefore investigated the effect of an acute dosage of concentrated beetroot juice on the intermittent sprint performance during a team sport protocol. Twelve male well-trained hockey players (Mean ± SD; age 21 ± 1.2 years, stature 180.2 ± 4.9 cm, body mass 76.6 ± 6.5 kg) were assigned to a single-blind, randomized, crossover design (1 week wash out period). Participants consumed nitrate rich concentrated beetroot juice (70ml, ~4.2 mmol NO3) or a tomato juice placebo (70ml, ~0.01 mmol NO3) 2.5 - 3 hrs before completing two 16 minute blocks of the soccer simulation protocol (Stone et al., 2011). Results showed that mean times were significantly improved when ingesting beetroot juice vs. tomato juice placebo in the agility run (7.8 ± 0.38 s vs. 8.16 ± 0.17 s; P = 0.002) and repeated sprint (2.67 ± 0.12 s vs. 2.76 ± 0.16; P = 0.012). However there was no significant difference found when analysing supplement type and fatigue rate during repeated sprints (P = 0.544) or the heart rate reached post repeated sprint (161 ± 10 bpm vs. 166 ± 11 bpm; P = 0.062). In conclusion, acute dosage of concentrated beetroot juice improved mean agility and repeated sprint times. Despite showing no significant difference in fatigue response, this study has shown that beetroot may be a useful aid for hockey performance. Further research is required with particular focus on training status and dosage.
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