Load and muscle group size influence the ergogenic effect of acute caffeine intake in muscular strength, power and endurance.Eur J Nutr. 2023 Jun; 62(4):1783-1794.EJ
Although acute caffeine intake seems to improve muscular strength-power-endurance performance, there is scarce evidence evaluating upper vs lower-body exercises at different loads. Thus, this study aimed to examine the effects of acute caffeine intake on upper and lower-body muscular strength, power and endurance performance at different loads.
Twenty resistance-trained athletes (male/female: 10/10; age: 23 ± 4 years; body mass: 70.6 ± 15.1) participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over and randomized study. Participants were provided with either 3 mg/kg of body mass of caffeine or maltodextrin (placebo). Sixty minutes after ingestion, they performed muscular strength and power assessment for bench press and back squat exercise at 25%, 50%, 75% and 90% 1-repetition-maximum (1RM), performing 3, 2, 1 and 1 repetitions respectively, followed by muscular endurance assessment for both exercises at 65% and 85% 1RM performing until task failure. Isometric handgrip, isometric mid-thigh pull and vertical jump tests were also performed.
In muscular strength and power, compared to placebo, caffeine improved mean velocity (P = 0.045; pη = 0.101), mean power (P = 0.049; pη = 0.189) and rate of force development (RFD, P = 0.032; pη = 0.216), particularly in back squat exercise at 75% and 90% 1RM where mean velocity increased by 5-7% (P = 0.48-0.038; g = 0.348-1.413), mean power by 6-8% (P = 0.050-0.032; g = 0.547-0.818) and RFD by 17-97% (P = 0.042-0.046; g = 1.436-1.196). No differences were found in bench press exercise. In muscular endurance, caffeine improved the number of repetitions in all exercises and loads (P = 0.003; pη = 0.206), but only in back squat exercise at 85% 1RM, caffeine increased mean and peak velocity (8-9%, P = 0.006-0.004; g = 2.029-2.075), mean and peak power (10-13%, P = 0.006-0.003; g = 0.888-1.151) and force peak (3%, P = 0.009; g = 0.247).
Acute caffeine intake (3 mg/kg) improved muscular strength, power and endurance performance, revealing a more pronounced effect at high-loads (≥ 75% 1RM) and in lower-body (back squat) than in upper-body exercise (bench press) according to muscle group size.