The effects of low-dose caffeine on perceived pain during a grip to exhaustion task

J Strength Cond Res. 2011 May;25(5):1225-8. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d9901f.


This double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject experiment examined the effects of low-dose caffeine on pain reported during an exhaustive grip task. The grip task consisted of holding a metal block attached to standard Olympic weight plates with the arm at the side until the participants could no longer maintain their grip. Apparently healthy recreationally trained college-aged adults (men, n = 5; women, n = 5) were given either a piece of Stay Alert™ gum that delivered 85% of the effective dose of 100 mg of caffeine in 5 minutes or an identical placebo gum that contained no caffeine. Subsequently, pain perception and ratings of perceived exertion were recorded during an exhaustive grip task every 15 seconds and the overall time to exhaustion. No significant difference was found in time to exhaustion between treatments. A significant main effect of treatment for reported pain (p < 0.001, Φ = 0.377) was observed. Thus, in a population of recreationally trained college-aged adults, low-dose caffeine may attenuate the individual's perception of pain during a grip to exhaustion task.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hand Strength / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Pain Perception / drug effects*
  • Pain Perception / physiology
  • Pain Threshold / drug effects
  • Pain Threshold / physiology
  • Physical Exertion / drug effects*
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Young Adult


  • Caffeine