|No pain... ah no creatine, no gain ;-)|
There have been so many articles about creatine on the Internet that I usually hesitate to add another one to the (mostly accurate) praise of creatine monohydrate
. The reason I still want to address the issue today, is a quantitative one: The data Kebrit and Rani present in their recent paper in the Turkish Journal of Sport and Exercise
is simply too impressive not to (ab?)use it as a plug to remind you that you are missing out if you don't use 3-5g of creatine to speed up your strength gains - if you are a beginner by a whopping 100%!
You can learn more about creatine at the SuppVersity
Pharmacokinetics of Creatine PI & PII
Supercharge Creatine W/ Baking Soda
Creatine & the Brain
Creatine + ALA = Better Uptake?
Creatine Before or After Workouts?
Creatine, DHT & Hairloss?
The study design Daniel Kebrit and Sangeeta Rani, two scientists from the Debre Markos University
and the Haramaya University
in Ethiopia used in their study is easy to explain. 20 Ethopian sprinters (no master athletes) who competed to represent Haramaya University
in 6th Ethiopian Higher Education
Institutions sport festival completed a 12 weeks of resistance
training program with or without provision of 5g of creatine per day.
"After two weeks of conditioning, the groups
were begun performing resistance training (both
weight bearing and weight free exercises). Weight
exercises include deadlift, barbell squat, bench press,
etc. Push up, curl up and brisk walking were some of
the weight free exercises which were performed by
The duration of exercise was 45 minutes
with the frequency of 3 days per week. Efforts were
put to control the subjects. They were advised, not to
participate in any other physical activity." (Kebrit. 2013)
If you take a look at the type of exercises, the workout frequency an the total volume (in minutes), you may be surprised that this was enough to elicit the strength gains I plotted for you in Figure 1
|Figure 1: Strength gains after 6 (left) and 12 weeks of resistance training with and without the provision of 5g of creatine monohydrate per day (Kebrit. 2013)|
It goes without saying that the total strength gains in athletes with years of training experience under their belt may be less pronounced, but when I saw the 2.6x higher increase in bench press performance within 3 months and 2x higher gains after only 6 weeks, I thought that the 14-year old kids at the gym who talk about creatine as if it was "gear" can't be so far off...
I am not kiddin't this is steroid like!
|Figure 2: comparison of the relative increase in bench press strength in response to creatine supplementation (Kebrit. 2013) and testosterone enanthate (Bhasin. 1996) both in conjunction w/ exercise.|
I know it sounds hilarious, but if you look at the results of the often cited study Bhasin et al. published in the New England Journal of Medicine
on the 4th of July in 1996, you will see that the even a supra-physiological
dose of injectable testosterone enanthate did not double the gains of the young, healthy study participants in the said study.
It's an apples vs. oranges comparison, I know, but it's still impressive, right? Well, I thought so and that's why I did
include this study in the SuppVersity news, although each of you should know that creatine and protein are the only two "must have supplements" for strength trainees.
- Bhasin, Shalender, et al. "The effects of supraphysiologic doses of testosterone on muscle size and strength in normal men." New England Journal of Medicine 335.1 (1996): 1-7.
- Kebrit, Daniel, and Sangeeta Rani. "Muscle strength and muscle endurance: with and without creatine supplementation." Turkish Journal of Sport and Exercise (2013).