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Caffeine (CAF) exerts a pressor effect both at rest and during exercise, as blood pressure is higher than with placebo. The effect of acute CAF ingestion combined with intense resistance training on cardiovascular function is unknown, however. The primary aim of the study was to examine changes in cardiovascular function after completion of fatiguing bench-press and leg-press exercise after CAF or placebo ingestion. Twenty-two resistance-trained men ingested CAF (6 mg/kg) or placebo 1 h pre exercise in a randomized, double-blind crossover design. They refrained from CAF intake and strenuous exercise 48 and 24 h pretrial, respectively. Heart rate and blood pressure were measured pre exercise. After a standardized warm-up, 1-repetition-maximum (1-RM) on the barbell bench press and leg press was tested. When it had been determined, a load equivalent to 60% of 1-RM was placed on the bar, and the subject completed repetitions to failure. Measurements of heart rate and blood pressure were immediately completed, and mean arterial pressure and rate-pressure product were calculated. Results showed significant (P < 0.05) increases in heart rate (+ 10 beats/min), systolic blood pressure (+ 8–10 mmHg), and rate-pressure product with acute CAF ingestion versus placebo. No change (P > 0.05) in diastolic blood pressure across time or treatment was shown. To prevent elevated blood pressure and potential enhanced risk of heart disease, CAF intake should be monitored in at-risk men who participate in resistance training.

The authors are with the Dept. of Kinesiology, California State University, San Marcos, San Marcos, CA 92096-0001.