Disclaimer : The examples below were controlled studies and you should take a cautious approach before you start loading with sodium bicarbonate. Too much sodium bicarbonate can be dangerous as well.
You would think somebody would have made it known by now that you can improve performance in the gym or on the field with this thing that costs 90 cents. It’s true. In this article, we present to you 3 studies which have shown that just a couple of teaspoons of ordinary, cheap baking soda can increase your muscle tissue gains by 27%.
You can actually purchase a whole box of baking soda for less than 90 cents. And it’s quite possible that it may be more effective than those supplement scams costing more 100$ lined up on the shelves at the fitness supplement shops.
In fact, it would be totally understandable why major supplement companies wouldn’t want the general public to get acquainted with this fact. Their profits would drop substantially.
Here are the studies:
Study #1: Consuming 25 grams of soda one hour prior to a weightlifting workout results in an increase of 22 reps
In the study, scientists picked a group of male athletes who had prior experience with lifting weights. Half of the group were given a placebo. The other half took 25 grams of baking soda. Then, both groups were forced to perform a brutal quad workout consisting of barbell squats (4 reps of 12 reps), leg press (4 sets of 12 reps) and leg extension (4 reps of 15 reps).
These were the results: the group that consumed the baking soda did an average of 22 more repetitions. And according to the principle of progressive overload, more reps equals more muscle gains.
Study #2: 25 grams of baking soda increases 1-rep-max by 27% in just one hour
In this particular study, again scientists took a group of male athletes who had prior weight lifting experience. And again, one half of the group took a placebo. The other half took 25 grams of baking soda one hour before they did their workout.
The group that took the baking soda found their one rep max increased by staggering 27% on the barbell squat and a more modest 6% on the bench press. This means that it could increase your max bench numbers by 10-18lbs in just 60 minutes.
However, what if, let’s say you’re not exactly interested in getting huge bulging muscles or lifting brutally heavy weights to become stronger? Not a problem. Baking soda can increase performance for endurance athletes, as well. This goes especially for crossfitters or anyone who likes to train with bodyweight exercises.
Study #3: Baking soda increases the time to failure by 34% in high-intensity interval cardio sessions.
For this last study, scientist gathered a group of trained, college-aged men. Like in the previous two examples, one half took a placebo while the other half took baking soda. Both groups performed 3 high-intensity workouts a week for 6 weeks in total.
The results: the baking soda increased the second group’s performance by 28% after 3 weeks and 34% after 6 weeks. And as an additional bonus, the second group also saw a significant increase in lean muscle tissue.
Why not give baking soda a try and see if this inexpensive and ordinary supplement can help you on your path to building more muscle and further increase your performance.
If you decide to try the method, start with smaller doses.
Some health effects (increase in metabolic rate or attenuation of metabolic acidosis) can be achieved at more reasonable doses, such as 5-10g, and may be more practical for nonathletes. Additionally, as 27.3% of sodium bicarbonate’s weight is due to sodium, every 100 mg/kg confers about 27 mg/kg sodium to the diet; this needs to be accounted for, and severely limits usage by persons with salt-sensitive hypertension.
Duncan MJ, Weldon A, Price MJ. The effect of sodium bicarbonate ingestion on back squat and bench press exercise to failure. J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Oct 11. Click here for the study.
Jourkesh, Ahmaidi, Keikha, Sadri, Ojagi: Effects of six weeks of sodium bicarbonate supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition. Annals of Biological Research, 2011, 2 (2) : 403-41. Click here for the study.