No significant effect of caffeine on five kilometer running performance after muscle damage

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Department or Administrative Unit

Nutrition Exercise and Health Sciences

Publication Date



Caffeine has documented hypoalgesic effects during exercise. However, there is a lack of research focusing on caffeine’s potential analgesic effects to ameliorate delayed onset muscle soreness. A placebo controlled randomized cross-over trial was carried out to determine if 5 mg/kg of body weight (mg/kgBW) of caffeine attenuates muscle pain and improves 5 k running performance following delayed onset muscle soreness. Prior to participating, eleven runners (9 male; 2 female; age, 24.5 ± 6.3 years; height, 173.6 ± 7.8 cm; body mass, 66.3 ± 7.5 kg; BMI, 23.18 kg/m2 ± 1.6; VO2max 61.0 ± 6.1 ml/kg/min−1), were asked to discontinue supplement use for 72 hours and abstain from caffeine consumption for 48 hours. Participants performed a 30-minute downhill run on a treadmill set at −10% grade at 70% VO2max to induce delayed onset of muscle soreness. Participants then returned 48 hours after to complete a 5 k time trial run where they consumed either 5 mg/kgBW of caffeine or a placebo. Rate of perceived exertion and heart rate were taken every two minutes during the trial. There was no detectable statistical difference between 5 k performance between caffeine (1074.9 ± 119.7 sec) or placebo (1053.8 ± 86.8 sec) (p = .41). Algometer readings were similar between both treatments for muscle soreness in the rectus femoris (p = .791) and the vastus medialis oblique (p = .371). Muscle soreness ratings were found to be greater in the caffeine condition compared to the placebo condition (p = .030). There was no effect of treatment on rating of perceived exertion between conditions (p = .574). The present study suggests that caffeine is not effective at reducing muscle soreness, rating of perceived exertion, or improving running performance in a time trial in the presence of muscle soreness.


This article was originally published in International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research


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