Having caffeinated coffee before strength training or sports practice will improve motivation, work capacity, and effort. A new study found that caffeine can improve performance in a large volume of intense anaerobic work, while inducing a greater willingness by trainees to invest effort at a physical task.
Published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the study showed that ingesting a caffeine pre-workout resulted in significantly greater work capacity and lower rating of perceived exertion (RPE). It also improved the lifters’ training drive substantially.
The study was a double-blind crossover study that used college-age men with resistance training experience. Participants ingested either a beverage containing 179 mg of caffeine or a placebo prior to a lifting protocol of four exercises that were completed to failure using 60 percent of the 1RM for each exercise. The exercises used for the test were bench press, deadlift, prone row, and back squat.
In the caffeinated drink trial, participants completed significantly more repetitions to failure in all exercises than the placebo group. RPE was also much lower in the caffeine drink trial, and participants’ physical and mental readiness to train hard was much greater after drinking the caffeine.
Participants reported that the caffeine drink made them feel more “vigorous” prior to training and less fatigued after training than the placebo. The caffeine drink also induced a better mood before and after the workout.
This is the first study to show improved training drive and performance from a caffeinated drink on a large volume of mentally and physically difficult exercise. Previously, performance in very short exercise bouts have been improved by caffeine, but this study indicates it can be applied to longer, more intense bouts that include weightlifting, strength training, sprinting, and other high-intensity sports.