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Table 1 Summary of the effects of caffeine on performance

From: The effects of caffeine, nicotine, ethanol, and tetrahydrocannabinol on exercise performance

WADA status: now being monitored (stimulants - in competition only), banned from 1962 to 1972 and again from 1984 to 2003 at urinary caffeine concentrations >12 μg/ml
Acute effect Effect on performance Caffeine dose Reference
Greater reliance on fat metabolism; increased FFAs; lower respiratory exchange ratio (RER) Increased time trial performance 6 mg/kg body mass Mc Naughton et al. [34]
Counteract central fatigue, directed effect on the CNS 3% PMAX increase, increase in voluntary activation, maintenance of MVC 6 mg/kg body mass Del Coso et al. [35]
No clear mechanism; effect on CNS (greater motor unit recruitment and altered neurotransmitter function) or direct effect on skeletal muscle Enhanced time trial performance 6 mg/kg caffeine 1 h pre-exercise and ~1.5 mg/kg after 2 h of exercise Cox et al. [33]
No mechanism proposed No significant effects observed on performance 1.5 or 3 mg/kg body mass of caffeine 1 h before cycling Desbrow et al. [65]
Direct effect on skeletal muscle; interaction with ryanodine receptor; potentiated calcium release from the SR Increase in contraction force at low frequency stimulation (20 Hz) 6 mg/kg 100 min before stimulation Tarnopolsky et al. [23]
Blunted pain response Significantly higher reps during leg press set 3 with caffeine, same RPE 6 mg/kg 1 h prior to 10-RM bench and leg press Green et al. [66]
Glycogen-sparing effect & increased utilization of intramuscular TGs and plasma FFAs with caffeine Increased cycling time trial performance with caffeine 9 mg/kg body mass 1 h before exercise Spriet et al. [13]