Caffeine Could Boost Exercise Performance

New research analysis highlights what many athletes have believed for years. Taking caffeine before exercise may improve performance.

In reviewing past research, the authors of a report in the British Journal of Sports Medicine write that caffeine could help speed, power, strength, and endurance.

"Supplementation with caffeine is highly prevalent among athletes, with one study from 2011 indicating that around 75% of urine samples from athletes competing in the Olympic Games contain measurable levels of caffeine," said lead author Jozo Grgic of Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia.

Caffeine was removed from the World Anti-Doping Agency list of substances banned during competitions in 2004 and "since then, the intake of caffeine among athletes has only increased with no signs of slowing down," Grgic told Reuters Health.

Grgic and his colleagues looked at results of earlier reviews that analyzed multiple studies of caffeine and exercise performance. They found that caffeine helped muscle endurance, muscle strength, jumping performance, exercise speed, anaerobic power, and aerobic endurance.

The "optimal" dose is not known, Grgic said, in part because the amount of caffeine varies with different beans, preparation method, cup size, and other factors.

"As a broad rule of thumb, two cups of coffee, consumed around 60 minutes before exercise, should exert an ergogenic effect in most individuals," Grgic said. "The response to caffeine ingestion varies from person to person.”

See the report:

Austin BarbianComment