A1 Journal article (refereed)
Effects of caffeine on neuromuscular function in a non‐fatigued state and during fatiguing exercise (2020)

Mesquita, R. N. O., Cronin, N. J., Kyröläinen, H., Hintikka, J., & Avela, J. (2020). Effects of caffeine on neuromuscular function in a non‐fatigued state and during fatiguing exercise. Experimental Physiology, 105(4), 690-706. https://doi.org/10.1113/EP088265

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsMesquita, Ricardo N. O.; Cronin, Neil J.; Kyröläinen, Heikki; Hintikka, Jukka; Avela, Janna

Journal or seriesExperimental Physiology



Publication year2020


Issue number4

Pages range690-706

PublisherCambridge University Press

Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/67962


Caffeine enhances exercise performance but its mechanisms of action remain unclear. This study investigated its effects on neuromuscular function in a non‐fatigued state and during fatiguing exercise.

Eighteen males participated in this randomised, double‐blind, placebo‐controlled crossover trial. Baseline measures included plantarflexion force, drop jump, squat jump, voluntary activation of triceps surae muscle, soleus muscle contractile properties, M‐wave, alpha‐motoneuron excitability (H‐reflex), corticospinal excitability, short‐interval intracortical inhibition (SICI), intracortical facilitation (ICF), silent period evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation (SP) and plasma potassium and caffeine concentration. Immediately after baseline testing, participants ingested caffeine (6 mg kg−1) or placebo. After a 1‐h rest, baseline measures were repeated, followed by a fatiguing stretch‐shortening cycle exercise (sets of 40 bilateral rebound jumps on a sledge apparatus) until task failure. Neuromuscular testing was carried out throughout and after the fatigue protocol.

Caffeine enhanced drop jump height (4.2%) and decreased SP (12.6%) in a non‐fatigued state. A caffeine‐related decrease in SP and SICI prior to the fatiguing activity was associated with an increased time to task failure. The participants who benefited from an improved performance on the caffeine day, reported a significantly lower sense of effort during exercise and had an accelerated post‐exercise recovery of M‐wave amplitude.

Caffeine modulates inhibitory mechanisms of the central nervous system, recovery of M‐wave amplitude and perception of effort. This study lays the groundwork for future examinations of differences of caffeine‐induced neuromuscular changes between those who are deemed to benefit from caffeine ingestion and those who are not.

Keywordscaffeinephysical trainingperformance (capacity)strainfatigue (biological phenomena)neuromuscular activity

Free keywordscentral fatigue; peripheral fatigue; rate of perceived exertion; soleus; transcranial magnetic stimulation

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2020

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 21:25