The positive effects of caffeine ingestion on aerobic performance are well-established; however, recent findings are suggesting that caffeine ingestion might also enhance components of anaerobic performance. A commonly used test of anaerobic performance and power output is the 30-second Wingate test. Several studies explored the effects of caffeine ingestion on Wingate performance, with equivocal findings. To elucidate this topic, this paper aims to determine the effects of caffeine ingestion on Wingate performance using meta-analytic statistical techniques. Following a search through PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, and SportDiscus®, 16 studies were found meeting the inclusion criteria (pooled number of participants = 246). Random-effects meta-analysis of standardized mean differences (SMD) for peak power output and mean power output was performed. Study quality was assessed using the modified version of the PEDro checklist. Results of the meta-analysis indicated a significant difference (p = .005) between the placebo and caffeine trials on mean power output with SMD values of small magnitude (0.18; 95% confidence interval: 0.05, 0.31; +3%). The meta-analysis performed for peak power output indicated a significant difference (p = .006) between the placebo and caffeine trials (SMD = 0.27; 95% confidence interval: 0.08, 0.47 [moderate magnitude]; +4%). The results from the PEDro checklist indicated that, in general, studies are of good and excellent methodological quality. This meta-analysis adds on to the current body of evidence showing that caffeine ingestion can also enhance components of anaerobic performance. The results presented herein may be helpful for developing more efficient evidence-based recommendations regarding caffeine supplementation.
Keywords: Exercise; nutrition; performance.