Is coffee an effective pre-workout drink? – The effects of ingesting naturalistic doses of caffeine on one-repetition maximum muscular strength and muscular endurance in females.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Extensive research has been conducted on the ergogenic effects of caffeine for endurance performance yet far fewer studies have investigated the effects for intense, short-term exercise. Particularly lacking in documented literature is the effects of acute caffeine ingestion in female athletes. This study aimed to investigate the ergogenic potential of caffeine on upper body and lower body muscular strength and endurance in females. Fourteen female participants (age 21.1 ± 0.7 years, body mass 65.9 ± 9.5 kg, stature 165.4 ± 7.4 cm) with one year’s resistance training experience ingested caffeine (61 mg) or placebo 1 hour (hr) prior to testing, in a single-blind crossover design. The participants completed their 3 repetition maximum (3RM) before performing repetitions to failure set at 60% of their estimated 1RM, for barbell bench press and leg press. A series of paired ttests were performed between the control, caffeine and placebo trials to determine a difference in performance, where 95% significance (P ≤ 0.05) was applied. There was no effect (standard error of difference = 0) of caffeine on muscular strength, as 1RM bench press (42.39 ± 7.25 kg) and 1RM leg press (112.26 ± 38.73 kg) were the same for all three trials. Compared to placebo, there was a significant increase in repetitions to failure for bench press (20 ± 3 reps vs. 22 ± 3 reps, P = 0.001) and leg press (23 ± 8 reps vs. 25 ± 8 reps, P = 0.000). The mechanisms supporting the increased number of repetitions with caffeine need to be explored in more detail. Caffeine habituated participants were more responsive to the effects of caffeine than non-users during the caffeine and placebo trials (bench press: P = 0.006 vs. P = 0.052 and leg press: P = 0.003 vs. P = 0.018). However, a few factors were identified that may have affected these results. Consequently, future studies should investigate individual participant responsiveness to establish whether they are responders to caffeine or not.
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