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Terri Graham-Paulson, Claudio Perret and Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey

Caffeine’s (CAF) ability to influence upper-body exercise endurance performance may be related to an individual’s training status. This case study therefore aimed to investigate the ergogenic effects of CAF dose on 20-km time trial (TT) performance of an elite male paratriathlete (wheelchair user; age = 46 years, body mass = 76.9 kg, body fat = 25.4%, and handcycling [peak oxygen uptake, V˙O2peak]=3.45L/min). The athlete completed four 20-km handcycling TTs on a Cyclus II ergometer under controlled laboratory conditions following the ingestion of 2, 4, and 6 mg/kg CAF or placebo (PLA). Blood lactate concentration, power output, arousal, and ratings of perceived exertion were recorded. Ingestion of 2, 4, and 6 mg/kg CAF resulted in a 2%, 1.5%, and 2.7% faster TT compared with PLA (37:40 min:s). The participant’s blood lactate concentration increased throughout all trials and was greater during CAF compared with PLA. There were no obvious differences in ratings of perceived exertion between trials despite different performance times. Baseline arousal scores differed between PLA and 4 mg/kg CAF (1 = low), and 2 and 6 mg/kg CAF (3 = moderate). Arousal increased at each time point following the ingestion of 4 and 6 mg/kg CAF. The largest CAF dose resulted in a positive pacing strategy, which, when combined with an end spurt, resulted in the fastest TT. CAF improved 20-km TT performance of an elite male paratriathlete, which may be related to greater arousal and an increased power output for a given rating of perceived exertion.

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Terri S. Graham-Paulson, Claudio Perret, Phil Watson and Victoria L. Goosey-Tolfrey


Caffeine can be beneficial during endurance and repeated-sprint exercise in able-bodied individuals performing leg or wholebody exercise. However, little evidence exists regarding its effects during upper-body exercise. This study therefore aimed to investigate the effects of caffeine on sprint (SPR) and 4-min maximal-push (PUSH) performance in wheelchair sportsmen.


Using a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, 12 male wheelchair rugby players (age 30.0 ± 7.7 y, body mass 69.6 ± 15.3 kg, training 11.1 ± 3.5 h/wk) completed 2 exercise trials, separated by 7–14 d, 70 min after ingestion of 4 mg/kg caffeine (CAF) or dextrose placebo (PLA). Each trial consisted of four 4-min PUSHes and 3 sets of 3 × 20-m SPRs, each separated by 4 min rest. Participants responded to the Felt Arousal (a measure of perceived arousal), Feeling (a measure of the affective dimension of pleasure/displeasure), and rating-of-perceived-exertion (RPE) scales. Salivary caffeine secretion rates were measured.


Average SPR times were faster during CAF than PLA during SPR 1 and SPR 2 (P = .037 and .016). There was no influence of supplementation on PUSHes 2–4 (P > .099); however, participants pushed significantly farther during PUSH 1 after CAF than after PLA (mean ± SD 677 ± 107 and 653 ± 118 m, P = .047). There was no influence of CAF on arousal or RPE scores (P > .132). Feeling scores improved over the course of the CAF trial only (P = .017) but did not significantly differ between trials (P > .167). Pre-warm-up (45 min postingestion) salivary CAF secretion rates were 1.05 ± 0.94 and 0.08 ± 0.05 μg/min for CAF and PLA, respectively.


Acute CAF supplementation can improve both 20-m-sprint performance and a 1-off bout of short-term endurance performance in wheelchair sportsmen.

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Terri Susan Graham-Paulson, Claudio Perret, Brett Smith, Jeanette Crosland and Victoria Louise Goosey-Tolfrey

The consumption of nutritional supplements (NS) is common among able-bodied (AB) athletes yet little is known about NS use by athletes with an impairment. This study examined the: (i) prevalence of NS use by athletes with an impairment; (ii) reasons for use/nonuse; (iii) sources of information regarding NS; and (iv) whether age, gender, impairment, performance level and sport category influence NS use. The questionnaire was completed by 399 elite (n = 255) and nonelite (n = 144) athletes (296 M, 103 F) online or at a sporting event/training camp. Data were evaluated using chi-square analyses. Fifty-eight percent (n = 232) of athletes used NS in the previous 6-month period and 41% (n = 102) of these followed the instructions on the label to determine dose. Adherence to these AB recommendations may partly explain why 9% (n = 37) experienced negative effects from NS use. As expected, the most popular NS were: protein, sports drinks, multivitamins and carbohydrate supplements, which were obtained from health food/sport shops, internet and supermarkets (top 3) where evidence-based, impairment-specific advice is limited. The nutritionist/dietitian was the most used and trusted source of information, which is a promising finding. The most prevalent reasons for use were to support exercise recovery, support the immune system and provide energy. Elite athletes were more likely to use NS, which may reflect greater training hours and/or access to nutritionists. Fifty-two percent of athletes (n = 209) requested more information/education regarding NS. NS use is prevalent in this population. Education on dosage and appropriate sources of information is required.