Acute caffeine ingestion enhances performance and dampens muscle pain following resistance exercise to failure

J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2012 Jun;52(3):280-5.


This double-blind, within-subjects experiment examined the effects of acute caffeine ingestion on perceptions of muscle pain following a bout of high-intensity, upper-body resistance exercise to failure. Moderately trained males (N.=18) ingested a dose of caffeine (5 mg · kg-1) or placebo in a randomised and counterbalanced order and 1 hour later completed bench press exercise to failure at an intensity of 60% 1 repetition maximum. Repetitions completed was taken as a measure of performance, peak heart rate was determined via heart rate telemetry during the exercise bout, rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and upper body muscle pain was recorded immediately upon failure of the exercise task and peak blood lactate concentration was determined post-exercise. Caffeine resulted in improved repetitions to failure (t [17]=3.119, P=0.006), greater peak blood lactate (t [17] =5.080, P=0.0001) and lower RPE (t 17=-3.431, P=0.003) compared to placebo. Muscle pain perception was also significantly lower in the caffeine condition compared to placebo (t [17]=-2.567, P=0.04). These results support prior studies using aerobic based exercise modes in suggesting that caffeine ingestion can dampen exercise-induced muscle pain. Specifically, caffeine ingestion enhances muscular strength performance and reduces upper body muscle pain perception immediately following a bout of high-intensity resistance exercise to failure.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Athletic Performance / physiology*
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise Test
  • Heart Rate / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lactates / blood
  • Male
  • Pain Threshold / drug effects*
  • Physical Exertion / drug effects*
  • Placebos
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Lactates
  • Placebos
  • Caffeine