Effects of Caffeine on Exercise Duration, Critical Velocity, and Ratings of Perceived Exertion During Repeated-Sprint Exercise in Physically Active Men

Int J Exerc Sci. 2021 Apr 1;14(2):435-445. eCollection 2021.


Caffeine improves short-to-moderate distance running performance, but the effect of caffeine on repeated sprints are equivocal. This research determined if caffeine improved exercise tolerance during repeated-sprint exercise. iCV is a running velocity that distinguishes intermittent running velocities (velocities ≤ iCV) that are sustainable from those resulting in a predictable time to exhaustion (velocities > iCV). Seven physically active men (age = 21.6 ± 1.5 years, body mass = 72.8 ± 5.1 kg, VO2max = 56.9 ± 9.8 mL/kg/min) ingested caffeine (5 mg/kg) or placebo (crossover design) 60 min prior to an intermittent critical velocity (iCV) test. The treadmill grade and velocity at VO2max (vVO2max) were used for iCV testing, and consisted of 3 bouts (10 sec running and 10 sec passive rest) at 130, 110 and 120% vVO2max. Each bout continued until volitional exhaustion and was separated by 20 min of passive rest. Total distance and duration were recorded to determine exercise tolerance using the iCV model. Caffeine ingestion increased running duration at 110% vVO2max (p = 0.02), but not at 120 (p = 0.93) and 130% vVO2max (p = 0.14). Caffeine did not improve iCV model parameters. A single dose of caffeine consumed 60 min before repeated-sprints can improve performance at 110% vVO2max, but not at higher velocities.

Keywords: dietary supplements; ergogenic aids; intermittent exercise; repeated-sprint ability; running.