The effects of creatine supplementation on muscular performance and body composition responses to short-term resistance training overreaching

Jeff S Volek, Nicholas A Ratamess, Martyn R Rubin, Ana L Gómez, Duncan N French, Michael M McGuigan, Timothy P Scheett, Matthew J Sharman, Keijo Häkkinen, William J Kraemer
European Journal of Applied Physiology 2004, 91 (5-6): 628-37
To determine the effects of creatine supplementation during short-term resistance training overreaching on performance, body composition, and resting hormone concentrations, 17 men were randomly assigned to supplement with 0.3 g/kg per day of creatine monohydrate (CrM: n=9) or placebo (P: n=8) while performing resistance exercise (5 days/week for 4 weeks) followed by a 2-week taper phase. Maximal squat and bench press and explosive power in the bench press were reduced during the initial weeks of training in P but not CrM. Explosive power in the bench press, body mass, and lean body mass (LBM) in the legs were augmented to a greater extent in CrM ( P<or=0.05) by the end of the 6-week period. A tendency for greater 1-RM squat improvement ( P=0.09) was also observed in CrM. Total testosterone (TT) and the free androgen index (TT/SHBG) decreased in CrM and P, reaching a nadir at week 3, whereas sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) responded in an opposite direction. Cortisol significantly increased after week 1 in CrM (+29%), and returned to baseline at week 2. Insulin was significantly depressed at week 1 (-24%) and drifted back toward baseline during weeks 2-4. Growth hormone and IGF-I levels were not affected. Therefore, some measures of muscular performance and body composition are enhanced to a greater extent following the rebound phase of short-term resistance training overreaching with creatine supplementation and these changes are not related to changes in circulating hormone concentrations obtained in the resting, postabsorptive state. In addition, creatine supplementation appears to be effective for maintaining muscular performance during the initial phase of high-volume resistance training overreaching that otherwise results in small performance decrements.

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