European Journal of Applied Physiology

, Volume 116, Issue 11–12, pp 2293–2303 | Cite as

Effects of caffeine ingestion on endurance performance in mentally fatigued individuals

  • Rafael Azevedo
  • Marcos David Silva-Cavalcante
  • Bruno Gualano
  • Adriano E. Lima-Silva
  • Romulo BertuzziEmail author
Original Article



To examine the effects of caffeine ingestion on physiological and perceptual responses in mentally fatigued individuals.


Eight male physically active subjects completed four cycling constant-workload tests in four experimental conditions at 80 % of maximal power output: control (C), mental fatigue (MF), mental fatigue plus caffeine ingestion (5 mg/kg) (MF-CAF), and mental fatigue plus placebo (MF-PLA). The mental fatigue was induced by a continuous performance task A-X version (AX-CPT). Before and after the AX-CPT, the profile of mood state (POMS) and blood samples for lactate measurement were collected. Oxygen consumption (\( \dot{V}{\text{O}}_{2} \)), rating of perceived exertion (RPE), and electromyography (EMG) activity were measured during the cycling test.


The time to exhaustion in C, MF, MF-PLA, and MF-CAF were 251 ± 30, 222 ± 23, 248 ± 28, and 285 ± 42 s, respectively. Delta values (corrected by C condition) were higher in MF-CAF than MF (P = 0.031). MF-CAF reported higher Vigor scores when compared with C (P = 0.046) and MF (P = 0.020). RPE at the first minute was significantly higher in MF-PLA than in C (P = 0.050); at the second minute, RPE was higher in MF-PLA than in C (P = 0.049) and MF-CAF (P = 0.048). EMG activity was not different between the conditions.


Caffeine ingestion increased approximately 14 % endurance performance after the induction of mental fatigue. This effect was accompanied by a tendency to improvement in mood state (i.e., vigor). Therefore, caffeine ingestion can promote a beneficial effect on endurance performance in mentally fatigued individuals.


Mental fatigue Endurance capacity Caffeine ingestion Mood state 



AX continuous performance task


Control group


Central nervous system




Integrated eletromiography


Maximal voluntary contraction


Mental fatigue group


Mental fatigue plus caffeine ingestion group


Mental fatigue plus placebo ingestion group


Root mean square


Rating of perceptive exertion


Profile of mood state questionnaire


Lateral vastus


Maximal oxygen uptake


Maximal power output


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Azevedo
    • 1
  • Marcos David Silva-Cavalcante
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bruno Gualano
    • 3
    • 4
  • Adriano E. Lima-Silva
    • 2
  • Romulo Bertuzzi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Endurance Performance Research Group, Departamento de Esporte, School of Physical Education and Sport (GEDAE-USP)University of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Sports Science Research Group, Academic Center of VitoriaFederal University of PernambucoRecifeBrazil
  3. 3.School of Physical Education and SportUniversity of São PauloSão PauloBrazil
  4. 4.Rheumatology Department, School of MedicineUniversity of Sao PauloSão PauloBrazil

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