Findings in scientific research have confirmed yet again the benefits of coffee in sports. A review of numerous previous studies confirmed that caffeine improves exercise performance (endurance, strength, speed, power, jumps, etc.), even though dose and effectiveness can vary from person to person. The results of the extensive analysis conducted by Australian researchers from the Victoria University of Melbourne (Australia), were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine (March 2019).
CAFFEINE HELPS IMPROVE AEROBIC SPORTS
This review included a total of 11 reviews of 21 meta-analyses, carried out for 15 years between 2004 and 2018, and with an average of 19 analyzed studies for each review. In general, it has been observed that caffeine helps improve endurance, and power especially in aerobic sports (as opposed to anaerobic ones). In particular, it can help increase endurance, muscle strength, jumping performance, speed of action, anaerobic power, and aerobic endurance.
Specifically, the researchers observed an ergogenic (potentiating) effect of caffeine on strength, in 3 reviews that included an average of 13 different studies each. Two other reviews (a total of 39 studies analyzed) found a positive effect of caffeine on resistance. Another review examined its effect on height in the high jump. Another one noted the effectiveness on increasing speed in running, cycling, and rowing.
THE RIGHT DOSE DOES NOT EXIST
Due to the previously mentioned reasons, the intake of caffeine, even with supplements, is very common among athletes of all categories. In the past, caffeine was considered a doping substance. However, in 2004 the World Anti-Doping Agency eliminated caffeine from the list of prohibited substances in competitions. Since then, caffeine consumption among athletes has increased. In fact, a study dating back to 2011 reported that about 75% of the urine samples from athletes participating in the Olympics contained measurable levels of caffeine.
Although coffee is the most popular caffeine-based drink in the world, it is not studied as an enhancer of physical performance during motor activity. The optimal dose of caffeine has in fact not yet been determined by experts. The amount of caffeine depends on several variables and changes based on type of coffee bean, method of preparation, cup size, brand, and any added flavorings. According to the researchers who carried out the review, a “general rule” is that two cups of coffee consumed about an hour before training should have a powerful effect in most people, although the right amount of caffeine varies from person to person.
Jozo Grgic ET AL. – Wake up and smell the coffee: caffeine supplementation and exercise performance