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Purpose: To investigate the effects of acute caffeine (CAFF) intake on physical performance in elite women handball players. Methods: A total of 15 elite women handball players participated in a randomized, double-blind study. In 2 different trials, participants ingested either a placebo (cellulose) or 3 mg of CAFF per kilogram of body mass (mg/kg bm) before undergoing a battery of neuromuscular tests consisting of handball throws, an isometric handgrip strength test, a countermovement jump, a 30-m sprint test (SV) and a modified version of the agility T test. Then, participants performed a simulated handball game (2 × 20 min), and movement patterns were recorded with a local positioning system. Results: Compared with the placebo, CAFF increased ball velocity in all ball throws (P = .021–.044; effect size [ES] = 0.39–0.49), strength in isometric handgrip strength test (350.8 [41.2] vs 361.6 [46.1] N, P = .034; ES = 0.35), and countermovement-jump height (28.5 [5.5] vs 29.8 [5.5] cm; P = .006; ES = 0.22). In addition, CAFF decreased running time in the SV (4.9 [0.2] vs 4.8 [0.3] s; P = .042; ES = −0.34). In the simulated game, CAFF increased the frequency of accelerations (18.1 [1.2] vs 18.8 [1.0] number/min; P = .044; ES = 0.54), decelerations (18.0 [1.2] vs 18.7 [1.0] number/min; P = .032; ES = 0.56), and body impacts (20 [8] vs 22 [10] impacts/min; P = .032; ES = 0.30). However, postexercise surveys about self-reported feelings of performance indicate that players did not feel increased performance with CAFF. Conclusion: Preexercise ingestion of 3 mg/kg bm of CAFF improved ball-throwing velocity, jump, and sprint performance and the frequency of in-game accelerations and decelerations in elite women handball players.

Muñoz, Aguilar-Navarro, Moreno-Heredero, González-Frutos, and Morencos are with the Exercise and Sport Sciences, and López-Samanes, the School of Physiotherapy, Faculty of Health Sciences, Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Madrid, Spain. Muñoz and Rivilla-García are with the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences (INEF), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), Madrid, Spain. Pérez-López is with the Dept of Biomedical Sciences, Area of Sport and Physical Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Alcalá, Madrid, Spain. Pino-Ortega is with the Dept of Physical Activity and Sport Science, Sport Science Faculty, University of Murcia, San Javier, Spain. Del Coso is with the Center for Sport Studies, Rey Juan Carlos University, Fuenlabrada, Spain.

López-Samanes (alvaro.lopez@ufv.es) is corresponding author.
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