Carbohydrate mouth rinses with caffeine while dieting may improve performance and may lead to greater alertness before exercise.


  • A carbohydrate mouthwash has been shown to improve performance in a few studies but not all studies.

  • Caffeine and caffeine with carbohydrates mouthwash increased arousal before the cognitive function test.

  • Caffeine and carbohydrate mouthwash improved repetitions in the bench press 40% muscular endurance test compared to the placebo



When bodybuilders are getting ready for a show, there is a reduction in complex carbohydrates and fats while increasing protein to reduce body fat and preserve lean muscle mass (i.e., body re-composition). Reducing carbohydrates (i.e., lower carb diet) is often associated with reduced exercise performance with fewer reps being completed. A new line of research suggests that carbohydrate mouth rinsing with some simple carbohydrates (i.e., glucose) before exercise can positively affect performance and cognitive function during exercise without additional calories. (1, 2)

Carbohydrate Mouthwash Studies

Some studies have shown that carbohydrate mouth rinsing, in which a person puts a carbohydrate-sweetened beverage and swishes it around in their mouth for ten seconds and then spits it out, can improve resistance exercise performance and delay fatigue.(3-5) The effects of caffeine are a well-known performance enhancer that blocks adenosine receptors, increases Ca+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum to enhance contractility, increases catecholamines, and enhances fat mobilization while sparing glycogen.(6-8)

The combination of caffeine and carbohydrate mouth rinsing has been found to increase performance by enhancing the activation of the sympathetic nervous system and increasing brain activity related to reward and motor control. (9, 10) Both caffeine and carbohydrate can improve performance thru separate pathways which can provide a synergistic effect.


A previous study found no beneficial effects of a carbohydrate (6%) and caffeine (1.2%) mouth rinse on strength and endurance exercise performance.(11) The study was performed only in men, but a new study investigated the study in both males and females. The study had 14 men and 13 females replicate the previous study and were assigned to one of four groups: 6% carbohydrate rinse, 2% caffeine rinse, a combination of carbohydrate and caffeine rinse, or a placebo.

The Study

The big issue was that the subjects were not regular caffeine drinkers, so we don’t know if the study results can apply to regular caffeine consumers. The amount of caffeine that stimulates performance in regular caffeine users is much higher than in those that are not regular consumers. The subjects were assigned a series of strength and muscle endurance tests in the squat and bench press. A combination of caffeine and carbohydrate mouth rinsing may boost power output as both are rapidly absorbed thru the oral cavity.

After a warm-up, participants completed a squat or bench press 1-RM test. Muscular endurance was tested with three sets of 40% of 1-RM repetitions to failure.

The mouth rinses consisted of 8 serial mouth rinses for ten seconds once a minute. After each mouth rinse, the solution was spat out. The study protocol is depicted below.

caffeine carbohydrate mouthwash

Karayigit R, Ali A, Rezaei S, Ersoz G, Lago-Rodriguez A, Domínguez R, et al. Effects of carbohydrate and caffeine mouth rinsing on strength, muscular endurance and cognitive performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2021;18(1):63.


Caffeine and caffeine with carbohydrates mouthwash increased arousal before the cognitive function test. This suggests that some mouth rinsing before a workout may help wake you up before exercise. There was no effect of any of the conditions on the bench or squat strength tests; however, the combination of caffeine and carbohydrate mouth rinse improved repetitions in the 40% muscular endurance test compared to the placebo.(12) The biggest effect seemed to occur during the first set, where there were no changes in the second or third set.

carbohydrate mouth rinse, effects of caffeine mouth rinsing, slingshot for bench pressing, bench press suicide grip, bench press with squat rack pin press bench bench press band, db bench press close grip bench press bar path, close grip db bench pr

Only the 1st set with Caffeine/Carbohydrate Mouthwash resulted in improvements in muscular endurance.

Bench Press Strategies

Bench press performance is something just all lifters are obsessed with improving. The factors that affect bench press are lean body mass, brachial index, and strength of the elbow and shoulder flexors. Many lifters often master other critical movements such as bench press bar path, grip (i.e., bench press suicide grip or thumbless grip bench press), etc.

Many lifters use the slingshot for bench press to gain muscular strength. The bench press slingshot is an upper body device that wraps around your elbows and allows you to handle about 10-15% more weight in the bench press. Others will incorporate bench press bands and other resistance band bench press accessories.

The bench press with the squat rack or a pin press bench can also be useful for breaking thru sticking points. The bench press in the rack is performed by adjusting at the point where you keep failing during the bench press. Other techniques are strengthening weaker body parts that are limiting factors in the bench press, such as the triceps. DB bench press close grip and close grip DB bench press are great movement-specific exercises to incorporate into your routine.

In sum, it’s recommended that you consume your caffeine either in pills or liquid, and then you can try a carbohydrate mouth rinse. It may improve performance without the extra calories. The carbohydrate mouth rinse may also help wake you up before your workout, so it may be worth trying to see if it improves your performance before the gym.

Caffeine and Performance

Common post workout side effects of high caffeine content pre workouts and energy drinks are anxiety, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and insomnia. 300 mg of caffeine pre workout powders or greater is the average amount of caffeine in pre workouts which is more than three cups six-ounce cups of coffee.

The food and drug administration recommends healthy adults consume less than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. Consuming large amounts of caffeine for long periods and stopping it can cause withdrawal symptoms.

You can use any Gatorade or Powerade drink and then try several 10-second swishes before spitting it out. You can also try a caffeine carbohydrate mouthwash combo. The study above used 8 series of swishes before exercise and a few after sets. The studies are far from conclusive, with mixed results, but it may be worth trying while dieting.


1.         Beaven CM, Maulder P, Pooley A, Kilduff L, Cook C. Effects of caffeine and carbohydrate mouth rinses on repeated sprint performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2013;38(6):633-7.

2.         Pomportes L, Brisswalter J. Carbohydrate mouth rinse effects on physical and cognitive performance: Benefits and limitations in sports. Science & Sports. 2020;35(4):200-6.

3.         Decimoni LS, Curty VM, Almeida L, Koch AJ, Willardson JM, Machado M. Carbohydrate mouth rinsing improves resistance training session performance. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching. 2018;13(5):804-9.

4.         Bastos-Silva VJ, Prestes J, Geraldes AAR. Effect of Carbohydrate Mouth Rinse on Training Load Volume in Resistance Exercises. J Strength Cond Res. 2019;33(6):1653-7.

5.         Bazzucchi I, Patrizio F, Felici F, Nicolò A, Sacchetti M. Carbohydrate Mouth Rinsing: Improved Neuromuscular Performance During Isokinetic Fatiguing Exercise. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance. 2017;12(8):1031-8.

6.         Lorenzo Calvo J, Fei X, Domínguez R, Pareja-Galeano H. Caffeine and Cognitive Functions in Sports: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2021;13(3):868.


7.         Jodra P, Lago-Rodríguez A, Sánchez-Oliver AJ, López-Samanes A, Pérez-López A, Veiga-Herreros P, et al. Effects of caffeine supplementation on physical performance and mood dimensions in elite and trained-recreational athletes. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2020;17(1):2.

8.         Grgic J, Trexler ET, Lazinica B, Pedisic Z. Effects of caffeine intake on muscle strength and power: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2018;15(1):11.

9.         Pauw KD, Roelands B, Knaepen K, Polfliet M, Stiens J, Meeusen R. Effects of caffeine and maltodextrin mouth rinsing on P300, brain imaging, and cognitive performance. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2015;118(6):776-82.

10.       Van Cutsem J, De Pauw K, Marcora S, Meeusen R, Roelands B. A caffeine-maltodextrin mouth rinse counters mental fatigue. Psychopharmacology. 2018;235(4):947-58.

11.       Clarke ND, Kornilios E, Richardson DL. Carbohydrate and Caffeine Mouth Rinses Do Not Affect Maximum Strength and Muscular Endurance Performance. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. 2015;29(10):2926-31.

12.       Karayigit R, Ali A, Rezaei S, Ersoz G, Lago-Rodriguez A, Domínguez R, et al. Effects of carbohydrate and caffeine mouth rinsing on strength, muscular endurance and cognitive performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2021;18(1):63.

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