Put Up or Shut Up! How Effective is Caffeine for Gymrats, Self-Proclaimed Bodybuilders & Lifting Weights, in General?
|Let's be honest: The authors exaggerate when they call the subjects 'bodybuilders'|
In this regard, a recent study by Hamid Arazi, Nazanin Dehlavinejad, and Roghayyeh Gholizadeh sticks out. Published late 2016 in the Turkish Journal of Kinesiology (Arazi. 2016), even though it is obviously not the only study evaluating the effects of caffeine or, and those studies are more frequent, the effects of caffeine + a plethora of other ingredients in kitchen-sink "pump" or "pre-workout" supplement in gymrats. Since a comparison of these results is (a) not necessary bodybuilding-specific and will yield conflicting results, the authors decided to conduct a
"[...] study aimed to investigate the acute effect of moderate amount of consumption of caffeine 6 mg per kg of body weight on maximal strength, repetition sustainability and training volume in the upper and lower body of novice bodybuilders" (Arazi. 2016).Fifteen males' healthy gymrats - I guess eventually we have to admit that these "novice bodybuilders" are not Mr. Olympia, yet - who had resistance training between 6 months to a year participated voluntarily in this study.
|Figure 1: Subject characteristics - note: while the study calls them "novice bodybuilders" (Arazi. 2016), we should be honest and admit that we are more or less talking about the average gymrat or "total beginner bodybuilder", here.|
After 24h of caffeine abstinence, the subjects reported to the lab, where they ingested were randomized (double-blind method) to consume
- caffeine (gelatin capsules containing 6mg/kg) supplements or
- placebo (maltodextrin) supplements,
"Subjects performed special warm-up activities for 15 minutes. Then, they did one repetition maximum test (1RM) in bench press (as especial upper body exercise) and leg press (as original lower body exercise) with 3-minute rest intervals in the range of 3 to 5 attempts. After 5 minutes of rest, subjects carried out bench press and leg press 5 times with 80% of one repetition maximum with maximum possible repeat until exhaustion with 3 minutes' rest between sets" (Arazi. 2016).This testing procedure was repeated twice separated by an interval of one week and the analysis of the results is quite telling. This cannot be the only study on so-called "bodybuilders"! Well, if we are talking "caffeine, only," it is. There is yet an interesting paper on ephedrine + caffeine by Haghagi, et al. (Haghagi. 2014), which found that, in 12 male bodybuilders (mean age: 24.41±4.42 years, height: 174.83±3.61 cm and weight: 75.67±8.05 kg) training without a supplement (Con), Ephedrine ((E), 0.8 mg/kg); caffeine ((C), 6 mg/kg), a combination of E + C (0.8 mg/kg + 6 mg/kg), or placebo all yielded significant increases in lower body strength (P<0.05) and upper body endurance (P<0.05). Since the FT is not available online, I cannot tell you how large the inter-group differences were - with no differences being reported in the sloppily written abstract, they were presumably not sign., though.
|Figure 1: Relative changes in strength and # reps to failure on bench and leg press w/ and w/out caffeine (Arazi. 2016).|
|Table 2: Work volume from the first to the fifth (mean ± SD; *=sign. adv. for caffeine | Arazi. 2016)|
- Arazi, Hamid, Nazanin Dehlavinejad, and Roghayyeh Gholizadeh. "The acute effect of caffeine supplementation on strength, repetition sustainability and work volume of novice bodybuilders." Turkish Journal of Kinesiology 2.3 (2016): 43-48.
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