Caffeine Supplementation for Powerlifting Competitions: an Evidence-Based Approach

Jozo Grgic, Filip Sablo, Sandro Venier, Jason Tallis, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Juan Del Coso, Pavle Mikulic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
54 Downloads (Pure)


In this paper, we review the effects of caffeine on muscle strength and provide suggestions for caffeinesupplementation in powerlifting competitions. The currently available studies indicate that caffeine ingestion mayenhance strength in two powerlifting competition events, the squat and the bench press. For the deadlift, the same mightbe expected even though studies directly using this event are lacking. Optimal doses of caffeine are likely in the rangefrom 2 to 6 mg·kg−1, and are highly individual. When using caffeine-containing capsules, 60 minutes pre-exercise seemsto be a good timing of caffeine consumption. For other sources such as caffeinated chewing gum, a shorter period (5 to 10min) from consumption to the start of the exercise seems to be effective. For shorter duration powerlifting competitions(e.g., 2 hours), one pre-competition dose of caffeine could be sufficient for acute performance-enhancing effects that mightbe maintained across all three events. For longer duration competitions (with longer rest periods between one repetition maximum attempts), there might be a benefit to repeated dosing with caffeine; for example, ingesting smaller doses of caffeine before each attempt or event. During training, powerlifters may consider ingesting caffeine only before the training sessions with the highest intensity. This approach might eliminate the attenuation of caffeine’s effects associated with chronic caffeine ingestion and would help in maximizing performance benefits from acute caffeine ingestion at the competition. Nonetheless, withdrawal from caffeine (e.g., no caffeine intake seven days before competition) does not seem necessary and may have some indirect negative effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-48
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Human Kinetics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Open access journal, published under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License 4.0


  • ergogenic
  • performance-enhancing
  • supplements
  • strength sports
  • 1RM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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