Skip to main content


The effect of caffeine ingestion on perception of muscle pain during a sustained submaximal isometric contraction of the quadriceps

Article metrics

  • 3258 Accesses


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of an acute dose of 5 mg/kg of caffeine on perceived pain of the quadriceps during a sustained submaximal isometric contraction.


A total of 15 low caffeine consuming college aged women (20.5 ± 1.4 y, 66.0 ± 9.0 kg; mean ± SD) participated in this study. 2–7 d after a familiarization trial subjects ingested, in a double blind random crossover manner, either 5 mg/kg caffeine (Caf) or a placebo (P), 1 h prior to performing a 2 min isometric leg extension at 45% of peak torque using visual cues to maintain force production. Every 15 s subjects rated their level of pain using the Borg CR10 pain scale. Subjects returned to the lab 2–7 d later to repeat the testing with the other condition. Data were analyzed using a repeated measures ANOVA with a Tukey's HSD post hoc.


Caffeine ingestion resulted in a lower pain score at all time points during the 2 min isometric contraction. This difference approached significance at 90 s (Caf = 3.2 ± 1.4, P = 4.1 ± 1.4; p < 0.10), and became significantly different at 105 s (Caf = 3.8 ± 1.2, P = 4.9 ± 1.5; p < 0.05) and at 120 s (Caf = 4.4 ± 1.5, P = 5.4 ± 1.5; p < 0.05).


Acute caffeine ingestion attenuates perception of muscle pain in the quadriceps during a sustained submaximal isometric contraction. This effect becomes more pronounced the longer the contraction is held.

Author information

Correspondence to Eric E Noreen.

Rights and permissions

Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Reprints and Permissions

About this article


  • Caffeine
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Muscle Pain
  • Peak Torque
  • Caffeine Ingestion