Can Caffeine Intake Improve Neuromuscular and Technical-Tactical Performance During Judo Matches?

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This study aimed to verify the effect of caffeine intake on blood lactate concentrations and neuromuscular and technical–tactical performance during simulated judo matches. Fourteen male judo athletes received capsules containing caffeine or placebo and were evaluated in both conditions. Before the baseline and 1 hour after the caffeine/placebo intake, athletes performed the countermovement jump test (CMJ), handgrip strength, judogi grip strength test (JGST), and blood samples were collected. Subsequently, the athletes were submitted to three 5 minute matches with 15 minute intervals. All neuromuscular tests were performed and blood samples were taken during the matches’ intervals. Significant interaction between condition and time (p = 0.01) was found for blood lactate concentrations. No interaction between condition and time was verified for CMJ performance (p > 0.05), handgrip strength (p > 0.05), JGST performance (p = 0.32) and number of attacks (p = 0.97). However, for all variables a significant decrease was observed throughout time (p < 0.05). According to clinical results (magnitude-based inference), we identified post-match 2 and post-match 3 showed higher effect (most likely positive effect) regarding delta caffeine – placebo than other moments (pre-match and post-match 1) for blood lactate. Caffeine increased the estimated glycolytic contribution over the matches; however, it did not induce improvements in neuromuscular performance or number of attacks.

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