Minimal effect of acute caffeine ingestion on intense resistance training performance

Todd A Astorino, Brian J Martin, Lena Schachtsiek, Keau Wong, Karno Ng
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2011, 25 (6): 1752-8
The primary aim of the study was to determine the efficacy of acute caffeine intake to enhance intense resistance training performance. Fourteen resistance-trained men (age and body mass = 23.1 ± 1.1 years and 83.4 ± 13.2 kg, respectively) who regularly consumed caffeine ingested caffeine (6 mg · kg(-1)) or placebo 1 hour before completion of 4 sets of barbell bench press, leg press, bilateral row, and barbell shoulder press to fatigue at 70-80% 1-repetition maximum. Two minutes of rest was allotted between sets. Saliva samples were obtained to assess caffeine concentration. The number of repetitions completed per set and total weight lifted were recorded as indices of performance. Two-way analysis of variance with repeated measures was used to examine differences in performance across treatment and sets. Compared to placebo, there was a small but significant effect (p < 0.05) of acute caffeine intake on repetitions completed for the leg press but not for upper-body exercise (p > 0.05). Total weight lifted across sets was similar (p > 0.05) with caffeine (22,409.5 ± 3,773.2 kg) vs. placebo (21,185.7 ± 4,655.4 kg), yet there were 9 'responders' to caffeine, represented by a meaningful increase in total weight lifted with caffeine vs. placebo. Any ergogenic effect of caffeine on performance of fatiguing, total-body resistance training appears to be of limited practical significance. Additional research is merited to elucidate interindividual differences in caffeine-mediated improvements in performance.

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