Pre-Workout Supplementation with BCAAs Attenuates Muscle Damage from Squats

We all know it, the squat, the king of all exercises is notorious for inducing deep onset muscle soreness within the next 48 hours. While, against common wisdom, this is not a reliable indicator for muscle damage, science tells us that squatting at high intensities will exert a certain amount of damage to the fibers of your quads, glutes and hamstrings.

Kazunori Mawatari has now found that providing the participants of his study with 100mg/kg BCAA (isoleucine:leucine:valine = 1:2.3:1.2) before the squatting for 7 sets of 20 squats/set with 3-min intervals between sets. Significantly lowered the level of soreness the participants experienced 2-3 day after the trial. What is yet of greater importance is the influence of BCAA supplementation on muscle-force and indizes of muscle damage:
Leg-muscle force during maximal voluntary isometric contractions was measured 2 d after exercise (Day 3), and the BCAA supplementation suppressed the muscle-force decrease (to ~80% of the value recorded under the control conditions) observed in the placebo trial. Plasma BCAA concentrations, which decreased after exercise in the placebo trial, were markedly elevated during the 2 hr postexercise in the BCAA trial. Serum myoglobin concentration was increased by exercise in the placebo but not in the BCAA trial. The concentration of plasma elastase as an index of neutrophil activation appeared to increase after the squat exercise in both trials, but the change in the elastase level was significant only in the placebo trial.
In view of Mawatari's conclusion, "these results suggest that muscle damage may be suppressed by BCAA supplementation", pre-workout supplementation with BCAAs appears to make sense - especially for those among you who like to train to the limits.
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