The study reviewed more than 600 articles and focused only on caffeinated-coffee conditions, measured the caffeine dose and measured an endurance performance. Nine studies routinely used coffee to improve endurance.
“Previous research has focused on caffeine itself as an aid to improve endurance,” Simon Higgins said. “Coffee is a popular source of caffeine, so this paper looked at the research surrounding its ergogenic benefits.”
In the studies used to determine endurance performance between 3 and 7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of caffeine from coffee increased endurance performance by an average of 24 percent. The amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee can vary from 75 mg to more than 150, depending on the variety and how it’s roasted and brewed.
The research participants either cycled or ran after drinking coffee. They then exercised vigorously and the results were measured. In a majority of cases, endurance was noticeably improved after the use of coffee.
“This is helpful for athletes because coffee is a naturally occurring compound,” Higgins said. “There’s the potential that getting your caffeine by drinking coffee has similar endurance benefits as taking caffeine pills.”
“While there is a lack of high-quality research on coffee as a source of caffeine, there is an abundance of research on pure caffeine,” Higgins said. “It’s surprising how little we know about caffeine from coffee when its endurance effects could be just as beneficial as pure caffeine.”
Simon Higgins, Chad R. Straight, Richard D. Lewis. The Effects of Pre-Exercise Caffeinated-Coffee Ingestion on Endurance Performance: An Evidence-Based Review. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2015; DOI: 10.1123/ijsnem.2015-0147