Effects of Caffeine on Performances of Simulated Match, Wingate Anaerobic Test, and Cognitive Function Test of Elite Taekwondo Athletes in Hong Kong


This study aimed to investigate the effects of caffeine on performances of simulated match, Wingate Anaerobic Test (WAnT), and cognitive function test of elite taekwondo athletes. Ten elite taekwondo athletes in Hong Kong volunteered to participate in two main trials in a randomized double-blinded crossover design. In each main trial, 1 h after consuming a drink with caffeine (CAF) or a placebo drink without caffeine (PLA), the participants completed two simulated taekwondo match sessions followed by the WAnT. The participants were instructed to complete three cognitive function tests, namely the Eriksen Flanker Test (EFT), Stroop Test, and Rapid Visual Information Processing Test, at baseline, before exercise, and immediately after the simulated matches. They were also required to wear functional near-infrared spectroscopy equipment during these tests. Before exercise, the reaction time in the EFT was shorter in the CAF trial than in the PLA trial (PLA: 494.9 ± 49.2 ms vs. CAF: 467.9 ± 38.0 ms, p = 0.035). In the WAnT, caffeine intake increased the peak power and mean power per unit of body weight (by approximately 13% and 6%, respectively, p = 0.018 & 0.042). The performance in the simulated matches was not affected by caffeine intake (p = 0.168). In conclusion, caffeine intake enhances anaerobic power and may improve certain cognitive functions of elite taekwondo athletes in Hong Kong. However, this may not be enough to improve the simulated match performance.