MUSCLE STRENGTH AND CAFFEINE SUPPLEMENTATION: ARE WE DOING MORE OF THE SAME?

ABSTRACT The purpose of this review was to examine in the current literature the advances made in terms of the effects of caffeine supplementation on maximum strength and its associated mechanisms since the publication of two important papers in 2010. Searches were carried out in the PubMed, Medline, Scielo and Web of Science databases for articles published after 2010. Sixteen studies were included based on inclusion and exclusion criteria. Five studies did not report changes in maximal voluntary strength (31.3%). Four of them used isometric muscle contractions, although this may not be a key factor because five other studies also used isometric contractions and reported ergogenic effects. Furthermore, these four studies evaluated small muscle groups and volunteers were not accustomed to consuming caffeine. Caffeine produced ergogenic effects in eleven of the sixteen studies analyzed (68.8%). None of the doses were clearly related to ergogenic effects; however, a dose of at least 3 mg/kg of caffeine is probably necessary. Caffeine ergogenicity was affected by various factors. There was a lack of standardized protocols and controls for intervening factors (e.g., circadian cycles and nutritional states), which could affect results. An ideal caffeine supplementation protocol that is useful for future research, athletes, and physical activity practitioners, has yet to be defined. A small advance made since 2010 involved a possible lack of gender difference; it would appear that caffeine supplementation affects men and women equally. Level of Evidence I; Systematic Review of Level I Studies.