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Research Update: Can caffeine or beet juice increase strength? What will 1 year of whey do for you?

Research Update: Can caffeine or beet juice increase strength? What will 1 year of whey do for you?

A focus in strength supplements this week as data is published on caffeine, beet juice and whey protein. 

Here are the findings:

 

Will taking caffeine improve your strength training?

 This study aimed to investigate the impact of caffeine on the performance and cardiovascular parameters of resistance-trained women during and after a session of resistance exercise. The research, involving eleven female participants, found that caffeine had no additional effects on exercise performance, hemodynamics, autonomic modulation, or arterial stiffness compared to a placebo. This suggests that caffeine ingestion prior to weight training has no influence exercise performance or have adverse cardiovascular effects in women.

Our conclusion: Caffeine is great for endurance, but a bit useless for strength... at least if you're a woman. 

Does a whole year of taking whey protein give you more muscle? 

 This study looked at how taking protein supplements for a year, along with or without exercise, affects muscle health in older people. They tested different groups, including those taking carbohydrates, collagen protein, whey protein, or doing resistance training with whey protein. The findings showed that these interventions didn't make a big difference in how their muscles work or the the size of their muscles.

Our conclusion: Protein shakes offer convenience in good nutrition, but those eating well who aren't really pushing their training won't see any benefits from just the protein. 

 

Will beet juice make you stronger?

 This just-published review analyzed the effects of dietary nitrate supplements (beet juice) on the performance of resistance exercises like squats and bench press. They examined multiple studies and found that nitrate supplements appeared to improve the number of repetitions performed, as well as mean power and velocity during these exercises. However, they didn't seem to have a significant impact on peak power or velocity. More research is needed to better understand the full effects of nitrate supplementation on resistance exercise performance, especially with varying doses and different exercises.

Our thoughts: Beet juice is well known to improve muscular endurance so this makes sense, but we think the benefits on strength are probably small.