Caffeine is something most of us are familiar with – but you might not be familiar with using caffeine to potentially increase your power during weight training. A new study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research suggests caffeine could enhance your strength training.
In the study, researchers set out to analyze the influence coffee and caffeine has on strength training. They recruited nine resistance-trained men (about 24 years old). Participants took 15 minutes to drink coffee, rested for 45 minutes, then began the workout. Researchers found that participants who consumed caffeine before working out were able to squat a significantly increased amount of weight compared to those who did not.
SQUATS (TOTAL WEIGHT LIFTED DURING WORKOUT)
Coffee – 2,976lb (17-22 rep range)
Decaf – 2,447lb (14-19 rep range)
Decaf + Caffeine – 3,086lb (18-23 rep range)
Caffeine – 2,557lb (15-20 rep range)
Placebo – 2,314lb (13-17 rep range)
So, what does the decaf coffee do? The researchers say it’s possible other components in coffee (like the antioxidant properties of polyphenols) work positively with caffeine to have a beneficial effect on performance. Caffeine is a stimulant, so it totally makes sense that you’d be able to squat more weight hyped up on coffee than you would without it. Drinking coffee before a workout doesn’t just make you feel physically energized: it gives you a mental boost, too.
You can use this to your advantage on days you need to go to the gym but don’t really want to use coffee as your new pre-workout. If you want to get a little more from your workout and eek out a couple more squats, coffee (and decaffeinated coffee plus caffeine) may elevate performance. Though the researchers note it might not be over multiple sets. Just try it.