The effects of caffeine on graded exercise performance in caffeine naive versus habituated subjects

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1991;62(6):424-9. doi: 10.1007/BF00626615.


The physiological effects of caffeine on subjects habituated to caffeine is relatively unstudied compared to those of caffeine naive subjects during graded exercise. Thus, the purpose of this investigation was to determine the effects of caffeine on maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max) and the anaerobic threshold in these two populations. Seventeen moderately trained males were classified according to caffeine usage: (1) caffeine consumption 25 or less (CN) (n = 8) or (2) caffeine consumption above 300 (CH) (n = 9). The subjects were tested post-absorptive on the same cycle ergometer on three occasions with 7 days separating the tests. One hour before each test the subject ingested either a gelatin capsule (C); 3 body weight of caffeine (C3); or 5 body weight of caffeine (C5). The subject then performed an incremental VO2max test beginning at 50 W and the work rate was increased 30 W every 2 min until the subject could not maintain the power output. Serial venous blood samples were drawn over 30 s at the end of each stage. The CN group significantly increased resting heart rate (fc) and expired ventilation volume (VE) after C3 and C5 and VO2 after C5. No significant differences were found for exercise VE, VO2, respiratory exchange ratio, fc or time to exhaustion. There were no significant differences (P less than 0.05) in the lactate threshold or the ventilatory threshold between treatment in either group. The CH subjects showed a significant increase (P less than 0.05) in resting plasma free fatty acid (FFA) concentration only during the C3 and C5 treatments.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Anaerobic Threshold / physiology
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Pulmonary Gas Exchange / drug effects
  • Substance-Related Disorders*
  • Time Factors


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Caffeine