Effects of caffeine on rate of force development: a meta-analysis

G Grgic et al, 2021.
Scand J Med Sci Sports, published online.
December 5, 2021

ABSTRACT

This review aimed to conduct a meta-analysis of studies examining the effects of caffeine on rate of force development (RFD). Ten databases were searched to find relevant studies. Risk of bias (RoB) of the included studies was evaluated. Data were analyzed in a random-effects meta-analysis. Eleven studies with “some concerns” regarding RoB were included. In the main meta-analysis, there was a significant ergogenic effect of caffeine ingestion on RFD (Hedges’ g = 0.37; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.21, 0.52; p < 0.0001). An ergogenic effect of caffeine was also found on RFD during resistance exercises (Hedges’ g = 0.49; 95% CI: 0.30, 0.67; p < 0.0001), but not during the countermovement jump test (Hedges’ g = 0.18; 95% CI: -0.02, 0.39; p = 0.08), with a significant difference between the subgroups (p = 0.03). Small-to-moderate (3-5 mg/kg; Hedges’ g = 0.25; 95% CI: 0.09, 0.41; p = 0.002) and moderate-to-high caffeine doses (6-10 mg/kg) enhanced RFD (Hedges’ g = 0.57; 95% CI: 0.30, 0.85; p < 0.0001), even though the effects were larger with higher caffeine doses (p = 0.04). Overall, caffeine ingestion increases RFD, which is relevant given that RFD is commonly associated with sport-specific tasks. From a practical perspective: (1) individuals interested in the acute enhancement of RFD in resistance exercise may consider supplementing with caffeine; and (2) given that evaluation of RFD is most commonly used for testing purposes, caffeine ingestion (3-10 mg/kg 60 min before exercise) should be standardized before RFD assessments

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