Effects of caffeine ingestion on endurance performance in mentally fatigued individuals

Eur J Appl Physiol. 2016 Dec;116(11-12):2293-2303. doi: 10.1007/s00421-016-3483-y. Epub 2016 Sep 30.


Purpose: To examine the effects of caffeine ingestion on physiological and perceptual responses in mentally fatigued individuals.

Methods: Eight male physically active subjects completed four cycling constant-workload tests in four experimental conditions at 80 % of maximal power output: control (C), mental fatigue (MF), mental fatigue plus caffeine ingestion (5 mg/kg) (MF-CAF), and mental fatigue plus placebo (MF-PLA). The mental fatigue was induced by a continuous performance task A-X version (AX-CPT). Before and after the AX-CPT, the profile of mood state (POMS) and blood samples for lactate measurement were collected. Oxygen consumption ([Formula: see text]), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and electromyography (EMG) activity were measured during the cycling test.

Results: The time to exhaustion in C, MF, MF-PLA, and MF-CAF were 251 ± 30, 222 ± 23, 248 ± 28, and 285 ± 42 s, respectively. Delta values (corrected by C condition) were higher in MF-CAF than MF (P = 0.031). MF-CAF reported higher Vigor scores when compared with C (P = 0.046) and MF (P = 0.020). RPE at the first minute was significantly higher in MF-PLA than in C (P = 0.050); at the second minute, RPE was higher in MF-PLA than in C (P = 0.049) and MF-CAF (P = 0.048). EMG activity was not different between the conditions.

Conclusions: Caffeine ingestion increased approximately 14 % endurance performance after the induction of mental fatigue. This effect was accompanied by a tendency to improvement in mood state (i.e., vigor). Therefore, caffeine ingestion can promote a beneficial effect on endurance performance in mentally fatigued individuals.

Keywords: Caffeine ingestion; Endurance capacity; Mental fatigue; Mood state.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Affect / drug effects*
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage*
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / administration & dosage
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Fatigue / physiopathology*
  • Mental Fatigue / prevention & control
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Physical Exertion / drug effects*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Caffeine