Posts tagged caffeine
Caffeine's Impact on Recovery After Cycling

Our prior posts have documented some of the research supporting the use of caffeine in both strength training and endurance events.  Caffeine has many effects including increased alertness and decreased perception of pain and fatigue.   These effects on the central nervous system allow an athlete to train harder and longer at a given intensity when caffeinated.  New research is investigating caffeine's impact on recovery from exercise.  

Caldwell and colleagues in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the effects of caffeine consumption after a 164 km cycling event.  Each cyclist was randomized to receive either 3mg/kg of body weight of caffeine or a placebo immediately after the ride as well as for the next 4 mornings and afternoons.  Not surprisingly, athletes provided with caffeine reported improved leg function and decreased muscle soreness compared to the placebo group.  The authors concluded cyclists may benefit from ingesting caffeine after endurance events to accelerate recovery.  Athletes are advised to speak with their physician before taking any ergogenic aid.


Caffeine's Impact on Strength Training Performance

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world due to its' caffeine content.  Moderate caffeine consumption is currently being studied due to its' potential impact on cognition, the aging process, and some cancers.  In our field of Physical Therapy, caffeine has long been known as a performance enhancer based on its' ability to improve focus, time to exhaustion, and intensity among endurance athletes.  Recently, coffee's impact on strength training performance has been studied with promising results.  

Richardson and colleagues studied male participants with a history of strength training to determine the impact of caffeine ingestion on strength performance (J Strength Cond Res. 2016).  The men completed squat and bench press reps to failure at 60% of their 1 repetition maximum weight under both caffeinated and decaffeinated conditions.  As expected, the men were able to lift more total weight after ingesting the caffeinated drinks.  These results did not hold up over longer weight training sessions with multiple bouts of exercise.  The authors suggested caffeine's effects may be due to improvements in voluntary contraction of muscles, improved nerve to muscle communication, improved muscle circulation, and reduced inhibition and pain processing from the brain.