Caffeine's Effects on an Upper-Body Resistance Exercise Workout

J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Jun;34(6):1643-1648. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002697.


Salatto, RW, Arevalo, JA, Brown, LE, Wiersma, LD, and Coburn, JW. Caffeine's effects on an upper-body resistance exercise workout. J Strength Cond Res 34(6): 1643-1648, 2020-The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of caffeine on an upper-body resistance exercise workout. Fifteen men (mean ± SD: age, 23.1 ± 1.9 years; body mass, 89.1 ± 13.9 kg; height, 175 ± 6.1 cm) volunteered to come to the laboratory 3 times. During visit 1, 1-repetition maximum (RM) values were determined for the barbell bench press, incline barbell bench press, and dumbbell bench press exercises. For visit 2, subjects consumed either 800-mg caffeine or a placebo. Subjects then completed 3 sets to failure of each exercise using 80% of their 1RM. Visit 3 was the same as visit 2; however, participants consumed the opposite treatment as visit 2. Various perceptual measures were recorded before, during, and after the workouts. The results indicated that participants completed significantly more repetitions per set for the barbell bench press (4.80 ± 2.66) and incline barbell bench press (4.91 ± 2.29) in the caffeine condition compared with the placebo condition (4.42 ± 2.56 and 4.36 ± 2.11, respectively). Higher arousal scores were found in the caffeine condition. For vigor, participants reported higher scores with caffeine before warming up (caffeine = 10.20 ± 4.11, placebo = 6.20 ± 3.23) and mid workout (caffeine = 13.53 ± 2.29, placebo = 11.13 ± 2.79). These results suggest that caffeine has an ergogenic effect on strength workout performance due, at least in part, to positive effects on workout perception. Athletes and recreational lifters may want to consider the ingestion of caffeine before a resistance exercise workout.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Caffeine / administration & dosage
  • Caffeine / pharmacology*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / drug effects
  • Perception*
  • Physical Endurance / drug effects*
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Caffeine