Effects of two pre-workout supplements on concentric and eccentric force production during lower body resistance exercise in males and females: A counterbalanced, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Grant M. Tinsley, Matthew A. Hamm, Amy K. Hurtado, Austin G. Cross, Jose G. Pineda, Austin Y. Martin, Victor A. Uribe, Ty B. Palmer

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Background: Pre-workout supplements purportedly enhance feelings of energy, reduce fatigue and improve exercise performance. The purpose of this study was to examine the performance effects of caffeinated and non-caffeinated multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements. Methods: In a counterbalanced, double-blind, placebo-controlled design, eccentric and concentric force production during lower body resistance exercise on a mechanized squat device were assessed after supplement ingestion. Repetitions-in-reserve/RPE and subjective feelings of energy, focus and fatigue were also examined. Twenty-one resistance-trained adults (12 F, 9 M) completed three conditions in random order: caffeinated supplement, non-caffeinated supplement and placebo. Subjects were not informed of the presence of a placebo condition. Thirty minutes after supplement ingestion, a 3-repetition maximum test and 5 sets of 6 repetitions were completed using the squat device. Each repetition involved 4-s eccentric and concentric phases, and the force signal throughout each repetition was sampled from a load cell contained within the squat device. The scaled and filtered force signals were analyzed using customized software. Repeated measures analysis of variance and appropriate follow-up analyses were utilized to compare dependent variables, and relevant effect sizes (d) were calculated. Results: Supplement or placebo ingestion led to similar subjective responses (p > 0.05). Energy (+8 to 44%; d = 0.3 to 0.8) and focus (+8 to 25%; d = 0.3 to 0.5) were acutely increased by supplement or placebo ingestion and decreased as the exercise session progressed. Fatigue was acutely decreased by supplement or placebo ingestion (-7 to 38%; d = -0.1 to -0.6) and increased as the exercise session progressed. Eccentric and concentric forces were unimproved by supplementation during the exercise sets for both sexes. In the non-caffeinated supplement condition only, maximal eccentric force production was lower during sets 3 to 5, as compared to set 1 (p < 0.05). Effect size data indicated that both the caffeinated and non-caffeinated supplements may contribute to small increases in concentric force production in males (+5 to 20%, d = 0.2 to 0.4 relative to placebo), but not females. Conclusions: As compared to placebo, caffeinated and non-caffeinated multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements failed to improve concentric and eccentric force production. In males, effect size data indicate a possible small benefit of supplementation on concentric force production, although this was not statistically significant. When resistance-trained subjects were unaware of the presence of a placebo, resistance exercise performance was similar regardless of whether a placebo or multi-ingredient supplement was ingested.

Original languageEnglish
Article number46
JournalJournal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 28 2017



  • BCAA
  • Caffeine
  • Citrulline malate
  • Creatine

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