O'Connor, P. J., Motl, R. W., & Broglio, S. P. (2004). Dose-dependent effect of caffeine on reducing leg muscle pain during cycling. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 1513.

This study examined the effects of ingesting two doses of caffeine on perceptions of leg muscle pain and blood pressure during moderate intensity cycling exercise. Low caffeine consuming college-aged males (N = 12) ingested one of two doses of caffeine (5 mg/kg or 10 mg/kg) or placebo and one hour later completed 30 minutes of moderate intensity cycling exercise (60% VO2peak). The order of drug administration was counterbalanced. Resting blood pressure and heart rate were recorded immediately before and one hour after drug administration. Perceptions of leg muscle pain as well as work rate, blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen uptake (VO2) were recorded during exercise.

Caffeine increased resting systolic pressure in a dose-dependent fashion but these blood pressure effects were not maintained during exercise. Caffeine had a significant linear, dose-response effect on leg muscle pain ratings.

Implication. Caffeine ingestion has dose-response effects on reducing leg muscle pain during exercise and these effects do not depend on caffeine-induced increases in systolic blood pressure during exercise.

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