Summary: Caffeine supplementation reduces sprint time in a 100-meter sprint, according to a new study.
Source: Ritsumeikan University
At the international level of sport, even the smallest advantage can take an athlete from mere participant to podium status. Therefore, athletes try to achieve this competitive edge with the help of performance-enhancing training methods and performance-enhancing aids before the event.
Caffeine, a nervous system stimulant, is one of the most common and popular performance-enhancing aids used by athletes around the world. In fact, the International Association of Athletics Federations (now called World Athletics, WA) recommends caffeine as an ergogenic aid (or physical performance enhancer) in a nutritional strategy consensus statement for athletics.
However, due to the lack of research on the effects of caffeine on sprint performance, the recommendation reflects evidence from other anaerobic sports rather than sprint running in athletics, such as the 100 m sprint.
To advance the research, a team of Japanese researchers investigated the acute effects of caffeine supplementation on sprint running performance. This study, led by Professor Takeshi Hashimoto of Ritsumeikan University in Japan, was later published in the Medicine and science in sport and exercise log.
According to Professor Hashimoto, “While previous studies have investigated the effects of caffeine on running activity, the evidence from these studies is not conclusive enough to support the World Athletics consensus. they examined its effects on simple sprint races of less than 60 meters, therefore, it was important to study the ergogenic effects of caffeine on 100 meter sprint performance.
The researchers recruited 13 male college sprinters for the study. In a preliminary test, the researchers determined how long it takes each athlete to reach the maximum concentration of caffeine in the blood plasma after ingesting it. Taking this into account, athletes were called up twice more for 100-meter time trials after ingesting caffeine or placebo supplements.
As performance measures, the researchers measured sprint speed and calculated sprint time. Discounting the effects of environmental factors, corrected sprint time was used to examine the effects of caffeine supplementation.
The results revealed that the corrected 100m sprint time was significantly shortened for athletes given caffeine, with a decrease of 0.14 seconds compared to controls. This decrease in time was largely associated with a decrease in sprint time for the first 60 meters of the sprint.
The researchers also found that the average sprint speed for the 0-10m and 10-20m splits was significantly higher in the athletes who received caffeine. Moreover, no significant difference was observed in the sprint time for the last 40 meters of the sprint, despite the shortening of the sprint time in the first 60 meters.
Together, these observations suggest that caffeine supplementation provided sprinters with more explosive acceleration at the start of the race.
In the long term, these results could translate into improved sports performance in athletes by increasing the use of caffeine as an ergogenic aid during sprints.
“The insights gained from this study provided us with the first direct evidence of the ergogenicity of caffeine on sprint running in athletics. This also serves as evidence to directly support World Athletics recommendations for caffeine use. The study thus offers an additional advantage that athletes can use to get closer to victory,” concludes Professor Hashimoto.
Determined to further explore the ergogenic effects of caffeine, Professor Hashimoto and his team intend to question the mechanisms behind caffeine’s effects on ballistic actions such as sprinting and jumping.
Funding: This study was supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (Grant No. 21H03384 to TH).
About this neuroscience research news
Author: Kazuki Kurajo
Source: Ritsumeikan University
Contact: Kazuki Kurajo – Ritsumeikan University
Image: Image is in public domain
Original research: Access closed.
“Acute effect of caffeine supplementation on 100 m sprint running performance: a field test” by Takeshi Hashimoto et al. Medicine and science in sport and exercise
Acute effect of caffeine supplementation on 100 m sprint running performance: a field test
No studies have evaluated the acute effect of caffeine supplementation on 100 m sprint running in athletics, and the net ergogenicity of caffeine on 100 m sprint running remains unclear. We investigated the acute effects of caffeine supplementation on 100 m sprint running performance in a field test.
Thirteen male collegiate sprinters were subjected to timed events (TT) of 100 m sprint after ingestion of 6 mg kg-1 caffeine supplementation or body weight placebo in a double-blind, counterbalanced, randomized, crossover design. Sprint speed was measured with a laser system and sprint time was calculated from the data in which the effects of environmental factors that would act as confounders on sprint time during TTs were removed.
Corrected sprint time of 100 m was significantly shortened by 0.14 s with caffeine supplementation compared to placebo (placebo: 11.40 ± 0.39 s, caffeine: 11.26 ± 0.33 s, P = 0.007, g = -0.33). Corrected sprint time up to 60 m during TTs was also significantly shorter with caffeine supplementation than with placebo (P = 0.002). Additionally, average sprint speed for the 0-10 and 10-20 m intervals was significantly increased by caffeine supplementation (all P < 0.05).
Acute caffeine supplementation improved corrected 100 m sprint time by improving sprint performance in the first 60 m after more explosive acceleration at the start of the acceleration phase. Thus, for the first time, we have directly demonstrated the ergogenicity of caffeine on the performance of a 100 m sprint in athletics.
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