Research conducted by Grove City College faculty and students indicates that caffeine, on its own or as part of a commercially available pre-workout supplement, increases muscular endurance, according to an article published in the Journal of Exercise and Nutrition.
Dr. Philip J. Prins and Jeffrey D. Buxton, professors in the College’s Department of Exercise Science, worked with current and former students Nathanael J. Sprunk ’19, Erin M. Green ’18 and David M. Jeffries ’18 on the data for the article, which was written in collaboration with Dr. Edward J. Ryan of Chatham University.
“The Effect of Caffeine Alone or as Part of a Multi-ingredient Pre-workout Supplement on Muscular Endurance in Recreationally Active College Males” explores the impact that pre-workout supplements and caffeine may play in enhancing athletic performance.
Those supplements, which are typically consumed by athletes and exercise buffs prior to training with expectations of improved performance, share common ingredients, including caffeine, branch chain amino acids, creatine and beta-alanine.
Previous research has shown that a number of the individual ingredients contained in supplements may improve performance as each ingredient is associated with a different physiological mechanism. Acute caffeine ingestion has been reported to increase muscular strength, power and endurance during high intensity exercise. It is not clear whether the performance enhancing properties of supplements are the result of synergy between ingredients or isolated effects of one of the main functional ingredients – for example caffeine.
According to the article, both a multi-ingredient supplement and caffeine were equally effective at increasing the number of repetitions and total weight lifted by the test subjects, primarily for lower body resistance exercise. And, the research indicates, it is possible that these acute increases in muscular endurance performance observed in this study may translate into greater strength and performance adaptations if the effects of the supplement are maintained through a regular, ongoing dosing strategy.
The research builds on previous work by Prins at Grove City College into the effects of caffeine on athletic performance.