Acute consumption of caffeine enhances performance in many different athletes. Lara B and others (2015) showed that an acute consumption of a caffeinated drink or other substance containing caffeine, could enhance the performance in swimmers who sprint. Energy drinks have become very popular in the sports setting. Caffeine is no longer a dope substance so athletes are becoming more interested in to enhance their performances. There is now a large range of studies that demonstrates a moderate dose of caffeine is ergogenic for endurance in swimming.
This study was performed on fourteen male swimmers ranging from age 16-22, who performed two trials after ingesting a caffeinated beverage. The swimmers also performed a countermovement jump, a handgrip test, and max swim test in a swim ergometer. One group had an energy drink with caffeine and another group had the same drink without the caffeine. This particular group of males were light caffeine consumers, had no history of cardiopulmonary diseases and had no injuries in the past three months. The substances were ingested 60 minutes before the trials began. After the tests were completed, a blood sample was taken. It showed that the intake of caffeine increased the height of the jump and showed a higher force of grip during the grip test. It also increased peak power during the swim ergometer test. To determine how much caffeine each individual should consume, they were weighed 2 days before the first experimental trial began. The individuals’ were encouraged to refrain from all dietary sources of caffeine, alcohol or stimulants a week before the trail was performed.
The individuals started with a 45-minute standardized warmup, then moved on to begin the jump test. Two maximal countermovement jumps were performed with a one-minute rest in between. The highest jump between the two was used for analysis. The individuals then moved on the handgrip test with both hands. Two attempts were performed on both hands with the highest value being used for analysis. After taking a short recovery period, they began to swim their best stroke for a 50-meter swim. Three different times were taken for each swim and the one that was the fastest of the three was used for analysis. No other swimmers were present in the pool during each individuals’ time trial. The last test that was performed was the swim ergometer test. The swimmers started in a stationary position and then were told to swim as fast as possible against the resistance. Maximal and mean values were taken and were used for analysis. A caffeine or placebo substance was given to trained and untrained swimmers before a 2×100 relay event. After the caffeine was ingested, the trained swimmers showed great beneficial effects. The trained swimmers reduced the time they needed to complete by 2%.
The placebos group performance (untrained swimmers) did not show the same beneficial effect that the trained swimmers did. However, both the untrained and trained swimmers did show high levels of blood lactate concentrations. The same test was used for a time trial in the 2×200 freestyle but it did not show the same effectiveness as the other time trial did. The caffeine did not show to be effective in enhancing the swimmers performance. Even though the caffeine helped reduce times, it did not affect stroke count while racing. Sprint swimmers are a big group of athletes that can really benefit from caffeine. They are performing at a high intensity and could use the extra boost to help them enhance their performance. Some studies show that a caffeine boost can be beneficial to improve their repeat-sprints while others showed that caffeine had no improvement. In another study, it showed that during the first sprint is when the caffeine helped the most. They rest of the sprints that were tested did not show as much improvement. There were 6 sprint 50’s that were tested and by the end, the caffeine did not show any enhancements in helping the swimmers improve their times. In this particular study, the individuals were paired up based on previous times to allow them to show improvement and ensure a competitive environment.
Blood samples were taken to be analyzed for blood lactate concentration. There was a significant increase in blood lactate concentrations after the sprints were conducted. Not only has swimming showed enhanced improvement when caffeine is present, but it has also been shown to show improvement in cycling. Tests were given to twelve physically active men to see how they would react to having caffeine in their body during a cycling ergometer test. Blood samples were taken and it showed an increase in blood lactate concentrations. The same increase that was shown in the swim sprints. In conclusion, it has shown that intake of caffeine before sprinting could help improve individual times. It shows that it may be more helpful in athletes versus non-athletes. With training, the indigestion of caffeine is more likely to enhance repeat-sprint ability in swimmers.
Caffeine use in longer events such as the 200 freestyle shows no improvement. Caffeine can also help enhance performances in other sprint sports as well. Cycling has shown great improvement when athletes take a caffeine substance before performing. Caffeine can be a great and safe way to help enhance certain performances.
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