Caffeine trick makes you train harder

  • Breaking
  • 06/09/2010

People who think they’ve had caffeine before a workout are more likely to train harder.

New research suggests tricking people into thinking they’ve been given caffeine before a workout will make them train harder.

A Coventry University professor has carried out a study showing the powerful ways in which the mind can force the body to work harder. A total 12 cyclists were asked to perform a series of trials to test the effects of caffeine, a well-known stimulant, on people who think they have taken it.

The trial respondents were split into four teams:

  • Team One were told they would receiving caffeine and given caffeine
  • Team Two were told they would receive a placebo and given placebo
  • Team Three were told they would receive caffeine and given placebo
  • Team Four were told they would receive placebo and given caffeine

The cyclists each drank 250ml of fluid containing artificial sweetener, before being given either caffeine or placebo before the 30 second trial. Results were measured on heart rate, power and lactic acid build up in the body – all of which is created during intense exercise.


  • Team One’s sprint power was the highest
  • Team Two had the lowest sprint power over all.
  • Scores for Team Three and Team Four were exactly the same; in the mid-range.

"We found there's a psychological mechanism whereby the person will react depending on what they think they've ingested, rather than what they've actually had," Michael Duncan, a senior lecturer in applied sports science, told the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Conference on Sunday.
"The highest power output was when we told them they were having caffeine and we gave it to them.

"Then, at the other end of the scale, their performance dropped quite low when we gave them nothing and told them they had ingested nothing.

Mr Duncan said the research showed a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“They believe they don't have an advantage and so they perform worse.”

"When we told them they were having caffeine but they had something like orange squash, they performed better,” he said.
"Essentially, the trick in terms of athletes or even normal gym-goers is if you can convince them that some kind of substance is going to have a positive effect, it will have that effect."

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source: newshub archive