Want to Out lift Your Workout Partner? Get the Caffeine Advantage
Caffeine is the most commonly consumed drug in the world, and athletes frequently use it as an ergogenic aid. It improves performance and endurance during prolonged, exhaustive exercise. To a lesser degree it also enhances short-term, high-intensity athletic performance. Caffeine improves concentration, reduces fatigue, and enhances alertness. The ergogenic effects of caffeine as a dietary supplement include, but are not limited to: simulating effect on the central nervous system (CNS) that reduces the sense of fatigue, perception of work effort, and in some instances, pain; caffeine produces analgesic effects on the CNS and enhances motor neuronal excitability, enhances mental acuity, focus, and technical skill during and post strenuous exercise. Caffeine also has some direct effects on muscle tissue such as: Caffeine enhances the permeability of the sarcoplasmic reticulum to calcium ions, as well as manipulates the sensitivity of myofibrils to calcium ions in order to boost excitation-contraction coupling–the physiological process of converting an electrical stimulus to a mechanical response (i.e. action potential→muscle contraction). Caffeine is a well known performance enhancer but researchers wanted to examine just how much of an impact caffeine would have on leg press and also bench press performance.
Researchers examined the effects of acute caffeine ingestion on perceptions of muscle pain following a bout of high-intensity, upper-body resistance exercise to failure. Moderately trained males ingested a dose of caffeine (5 mg · kg-1) or placebo in a randomised and counterbalanced order and 1 hour later completed bench press exercise to failure at an intensity of 60% 1 repetition maximum. Repetitions completed was taken as a measure of performance, peak heart rate was determined via heart rate telemetry during the exercise bout, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and upper body muscle pain was recorded immediately upon failure of the exercise task and peak blood lactate concentration was determined post-exercise. At the end of the study, caffeine resulted in improved repetitions to failure, greater peak blood lactate and lower RPE compared to placebo. Muscle pain perception was also significantly lower in the caffeine condition compared to placebo. Caffeine increased reps to failure by an average of 11.6% on the bench press and 19.1% on the leg press. These results support prior studies using aerobic based exercise modes in suggesting that caffeine ingestion can dampen exercise-induced muscle pain. Specifically, caffeine ingestion enhances muscular strength performance and reduces upper body muscle pain perception immediately following a bout of high-intensity resistance exercise to failure.