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Effect of Caffeine as an Ergogenic Aid During Anaerobic Exercise Performance in Caffeine Naïve Collegiate Football Players

Woolf, Kathleen1; Bidwell, Wendy K1; Carlson, Amanda G2

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research:
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181b3393b
Original Research

Woolf, K, Wendy, KB, and Carlson, AG. Effect of Caffeine as an Ergogenic Aid During Anaerobic Exercise Performance in Caffeine Naïve Collegiate Football Players. J Strength Cond Res 23(5): 1363-1369, 2009-Research suggests that caffeine may improve performance in aerobic exercise; the evidence for anaerobic performance is mixed. This study examined the effect of caffeine (5 mg/kg body weight [BW]) vs. placebo on performance-based anaerobic exercise tests used during the National Football League (NFL) Combine. Collegiate football athletes (n = 17; 20 ± 2 yr; body mass index 29.4 ± 3.6 kg/m2) completed 2 study visits, 1 week apart. Participants were low caffeine users with a reported average intake of 16 ± 20 mg/day. On the day of testing, participants ingested a caffeinated (5 mg/kg BW caffeine + 0.125 g/kg BW carbohydrate) or placebo (0.125 g/kg BW carbohydrate) beverage, ate a light meal, and completed 3 exercise tests (40-yard dash, 20-yard shuttle, and a bench press) 60 minutes later. Borg's rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was recorded after each exercise test. Heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) were monitored (pre-exercise and postexercise). Data were analyzed using paired t-tests, Wilcoxon signed rank test, and repeated measures analysis of variance. No significant differences were found between treatments for the exercise tests (40-yard dash: 5.01 ± 0.25 vs. 5.03 ± 0.26 s, p = 0.43; 20-yard shuttle: 4.64 ± 0.19 vs. 4.66 ± 0.24 s, p = 0.51; bench press: 17 ± 8 vs. 17 ± 8 reps, p = 0.51; caffeine vs. placebo, respectively). However, 59% of the participants improved in performance with the caffeine during the bench press and the 40-yard dash. No differences were found between treatments for RPE, HR, and BP. Caffeine did not improve performance for anaerobic exercise tests used at the NFL Combine in caffeine naïve male football athletes.

Author Information

1Nutrition Program, Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus, Mesa, Arizona; and 2Athletes Performance, 650 S. Athletes' Performance, Tempe, Arizona

Address correspondence to Dr. Kathleen Woolf,

© 2009 National Strength and Conditioning Association