Low and moderate doses of caffeine late in exercise improve performance in trained cyclists

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016 Aug;41(8):850-5. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2016-0053. Epub 2016 Apr 1.


The aim of the present study was to assess if low and moderate doses of caffeine delivered in a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution (CES) late in exercise improved time-trial (TT) performance. Fifteen (11 male, 4 female) cyclists (age, 22.5 ± 0.9 years; body mass, 69.3 ± 2.6 kg; peak oxygen consumption, 64.6 ± 1.9 mL·min(-1)·kg(-1)) completed 4 double-blinded randomized trials. Subjects completed 120 min of cycling at ∼60% peak oxygen consumption with 5 interspersed 120-s intervals at ∼82% peak oxygen consumption, immediately followed by 40-s intervals at 50 W. Following 80 min of cycling, subjects either ingested a 6% CES (PL), a CES with 100 mg (low dose, 1.5 ± 0.1 mg·kg body mass(-1)) of caffeine (CAF1), or a CES with 200 mg (moderate dose, 2.9 ± 0.1 mg·kg body mass(-1)) of caffeine (CAF2). Following the 120-min cycling challenge, cyclists completed a 6-kJ·kg body mass(-1) TT. There was no difference between respiratory, heart rate, glucose, free fatty acid, body mass, hematocrit, or urine specific gravity measurements between treatments. The CAF2 (26:36 ± 0:22 min:s) TT was completed faster than CAF1 (27:36 ± 0:32 min:s, p < 0.05) and both CAF1 and CAF2 TTs were completed faster than PL (28:41 ± 0:38 min:s, p < 0.05). Blood lactate was similar between trials and rose to a greater extent during the TT (p < 0.05). In summary, both doses of caffeine delivered late in exercise improved TT performance over the PL trial and the moderate dose (CAF2) improved performance to a greater extent than the low dose (CAF1).

Keywords: agent ergogène; contre-la-montre; cycling; cyclisme; elite; ergogenic aid; exercice physique; exercise; metabolism; métabolisme; time trial; élite.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Performance*
  • Bicycling*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Caffeine / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Epinephrine / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / blood
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Lactic Acid
  • Caffeine
  • Epinephrine