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The Effects of Caffeine on Vertical Jump Height and Execution in Collegiate Athletes

Bloms, Lucas P.; Fitzgerald, John S.; Short, Martin W.; Whitehead, James R.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: July 2016 - Volume 30 - Issue 7 - p 1855–1861
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001280
Original Research

Bloms, LP, Fitzgerald, JS, Short, MW, and Whitehead, JR. The effects of caffeine on vertical jump height and execution in collegiate athletes. J Strength Cond Res 30(7): 1855–1861, 2016—Caffeine ingestion elicits a variety of physiological effects that may be beneficial to maximal-intensity exercise performance, although its effectiveness and physical mechanism of action enhancing ballistic task performance are unclear. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of caffeine ingestion on vertical jump height and jump execution in Division I collegiate athletes. The study used a single-blind, randomized, crossover design. Athletes (n = 25) consumed either caffeine (5 mg·kg−1) or placebo. After a 60-minute waiting period, athletes performed 3 squat jumps (SJ) and 3 countermovement jumps (CMJ) while standing on a force platform. Jump height and execution variables were calculated from mechanography data. In comparison with placebo, caffeine increased SJ height (32.8 ± 6.2 vs. 34.5 ± 6.7 cm; p = 0.001) and CMJ height (36.4 ± 6.9 vs. 37.9 ± 7.4 cm; p = 0.001). Peak force (p = 0.032) and average rate of force development (p = 0.037) were increased during the CMJ in the caffeine trail compared with the control. Time to half peak force was the only execution variable improved with caffeine (p = 0.019) during the SJ. It seems that caffeine affects both height and execution of jumping. Our data indicate that the physical mechanism of jump enhancement is increased peak force production or rate of force development during jumping depending on technique. The physical mechanism of jump enhancement suggests that the ergogenic effects of caffeine may transfer to other ballistic tasks involving the lower-body musculature in collegiate athletes.

Human Performance Laboratory, Department of Kinesiology and Public Health Education, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota

Address correspondence to John S. Fitzgerald, john.s.fitzgerald@und.edu.

Copyright © 2016 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.