‘A comprehensive review of current literature regarding the effects of supplementing with Creatine Monohydrate and its resultant effects on muscular strength and endurance.’
When it comes to sporting supplements, Creatine Monohydrate is on a similar popularity level to that of Whey Protein powders. With an increasing number of men looking to develop a lean and muscular physique they can be proud of, creatine has become one of the top selling products for manufacturing giants on a global scale.
Creatine Monohydrate’s reported effects on sporting performance include significant enhancements in body mass, increments in strength gains and the development of overall sporting performance. Consequently, it is frequently utilised by athletes requiring these favourable attributes for their chosen sport. It is reported that 45-74% of weightlifters, boxers and track and field athletes supplement with this product (Ronsen et al. 1999).
“Exercise performance involving short periods of extremely powerful activity can be enhanced, especially during repeated bouts [...] creatine supplementation is associated with enhanced accrual of strength in strength training programs.”
(Terjung et al. 2000).
It is apparent from the bold statements highlighted above (provided by the American College of Sports Medicine) that supplementation with Creatine Monohydrate can bring about numerous desirable effects. These effects include but are by no means limited to enhancements in muscular strength of repetition maximums (RM) and increments in muscular endurance and performing maximal repetitions at a set weight ratio.
These two popular training variables will be considered within this article, alongside the effectiveness and significance of supplementing with Creatine Monohydrate.
Since 1993, there have been in excess of 200 research investigations examining the effects of Creatine Monohydrate supplementation on sporting performance. Many of these at a published level have achieved international recognition; however, their flaws have not gone unnoticed. Much of the criticism is aimed at the control and ability to apply results to other sporting settings whilst conducting the investigation.
Can those individuals in the experimental group be considered comparable to those in the placebo group? Has the correct dosage of Creatine Monohydrate been administered and at appropriate timings? Can the results achieved be transferred to other sporting settings and individuals, or are they only relevant to those directly involved in the research investigation?
Rawson and Volek (2003) aimed to eradicate some of the above limiting factors by carrying out a comprehensive review of studies looking into the effects of Creatine Monohydrate supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance.
Their comprehensive review included 22 previous research investigations meeting stringent criteria; trial days ranged from 7-91 days, only male subject groups were utilised in 17 of the 22 investigations, supplementation dosages of Creatine Monohydrate ranged from 20-25g per day and included a loading period of between 3-7 days. All studies selected also involved the intake of this supplement alongside resistance training and measured overall performance with both a strength task and muscular endurance exercise.
Of the 22 research investigations considered, 16 of them demonstrated significant increments in both muscular strength and endurance performance during their testing period. So what figures were attained that can be truly attributed to Creatine Monohydrate supplementation?
Overall results indicated an 8% increment in muscular strength in the Creatine Monohydrate and resistance training group compared to that of the placebo group who only undertook resistance training. Muscular strength was measured at 1, 3 and 10 RM.
It should be noted that actual independent research investigations noted differences in this particular category from between 3-45%.
A 14% average increment was noted in muscular endurance in the Creatine Monohydrate and resistance training group, compared to that of the placebo group who only undertook resistance training. Measurements were achieved using maximal repetitions to failure.
It should be noted that actual independent research investigations noted differences in this particular category from between 16-43%.
As previously highlighted, Creatine Monohydrate is used as a sporting supplement to bring about desirable performance effects that include enhancements in body mass, increments in strength gains and the development of overall sporting performance.
This article and the research investigation within contemplated the effect of Creatine Monohydrate supplementation on muscular strength and muscular endurance, both of which were seen to be enhanced significantly within the comprehensive 22 study review.
There are numerous hypothesised reasons for these significant gains. Volek et al. (1999) suggested it was brought about by enhancements in the percentage of lean muscular mass, whilst Parise et al. (2001) highlighted the potential effect of Creatine Monohydrate supplementation on protein metabolism.
One of the most simplistic yet comprehensive reasons for this increment in performance can be described through; “An increase in the intensity of individual workouts resulting from a better match between ATP supply and demand during exercise” (Casey et al. 1996).
This theory is echoed in the following; “An enhanced Creatine, Phosphocreatine energy system allows athletes to perform more repetitions per set of a given exercise” (Greenhaff et al. 1994).
Whichever hypothesis you tend to side with, the proof is there within the results for all to see – the supplementing with Creatine Monohydrate during resistance training enhances both muscular strength and endurance with significant increments. It is for this reason that athletes requiring these attributes, such as weightlifters, boxers and track and field athletes will successfully utilise this product within their respective training regimes.
Creatine Monohydrate isn’t just for professional athletes. Even if you use the gym just to keep fit and stay in shape, this supplement can still work wonders for you. Besides enhancing lean muscular mass percentages and altering your physique, Creatine Monohydrate will help create a positive cycle where you can continue to gain size and strength – seeing noticeable results each week is one of the best forms of motivation.
Not only will all these effects have you feeling better about yourself, but considering we are a fashion site, it will also help take your outfits to the next level. Developing a muscular physique can help your clothes fit better, provide you with that masculine silhouette many women desire and increase your overall confidence, which can make or break your look instantly.
In future articles we will look into optimal creatine dosage, creatine cycling and the benefits of a creatine loading phase.
If you’re looking to take your training to the next level with Creatine Monohydrate, here are FashionBeans’ current favourite creatine-based supplements: