Question: Can Caffeine Make You Stronger?

Key Takeaways

  1. 90% of the pre-workout supplements on the market are just overpriced and silly ways to get caffeine into your system before a workout.
  2. Caffeine can improve time to exhaustion (Strength endurance) leading to you working harder, longer during each training session.
  3. These effects may be greater for lower body exercises than for upper body stuff.

So I’m not a big fan of spending money on supplements so my go to “pre-workout” drink is black coffee. I know some of them have other stuff like creatine, BCAAs, and beta alanine but those aren’t really giving you that “boost” you might be seeking to “get you going” which is what I’m talking about here…

I’ve tried a handful of pre-workout supplements over the years and honestly can’t really recommend any of them because I don’t feel much of a difference, which is why I just stick to black coffee.

I think I heard John Welbourn (Former NFL player and head honcho at Power Athlete HQ) say this about pre-workout drinks: Go to a coffee shop, order the strongest coffee you can get in the smallest cup. Drink it.

So, anyway, this study jumped out at me because it is basically claiming that coffee can make you stronger.

Pretty cool, but the mechanism here isn’t that magical.

Basically, caffeine will improve your “tolerance to exhaustion” meaning you can push just a bit harder each workout.

Do that consistently and… **drumroll** You get stronger!

Pretty cool, eh?

Now here’s a big caveat…

These results were from a pretty large amount of caffeine: 6 mg *kg

Which means if you’re a 180lbs dude — You’d need about 490mg of caffeine to fall in line with how this was tested.

If you refer back to the article I shared previously titled How Much Caffeine is Too Much would be like 2.5 5-hour energy shots.

**Definitely not recommended**

Also, if you’re like me, most of you are probably over caffeinated already, your tolerance is probably through the roof and it’s gonna be even harder for you to see any real benefits of coffee as a pre-workout (or even pre-workout as a pre-workout).

So, you may need to lay off the 18 cups of coffee each day for a couple weeks to get your tolerance back down (Probably a good thing to do every so often anyway).

However, if you do respond well to caffeine (i.e. It still wakes you up a bit) then a large coffee or espresso pre-workout might be a good way to wake you up a bit with the added benefit of a boost in performance.

Disclaimer for you late afternoon/evening exercisers: “100 mg of caffeine taken close to bedtime may affect sleep quality. Keep in mind that the half-life of caffeine is 5 hours (on average; it varies greatly between individuals), which means that you probably still have caffeine in your blood if you drank coffee within the last 10 hours.”(Source: Examine.com)