Examples of Sports Performance Theoretically Enhanced by Creatine Supplementation

Increased PCr Track sprints: 100, 200 m Swim sprints: 50 m Pursuit cycling Increased PCr resynthesis Basketball Field hockey Football (American) Ice hockey Lacrosse Volleyball Reduced muscle acidosis Downhill skiing Rowing

Swim events: 100, 200 m Track events: 400, 800 m Oxidative metabolism Basketball Soccer

Team handball

Tennis

Volleyball

Interval training in endurance athletes Enhanced training Most sports

Increased body mass/muscle mass Bodybuilding

Football (American, Australian) Heavyweight wrestling Power lifting Rugby

Track/field events (shot put, javelin, discus) Weight lifting

Adapted from Williams, M.H. et al., Creatine: The Power Supplement, Human Kinetics Publishers, Champaign, IL, 1999.

9.2.8 Effects of Creatine on Exercise Performance and Training Adaptations

As of this writing, there have been over 1000 articles published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature on creatine supplementation. Slightly over half of these studies have evaluated the effects of creatine supplementation on exercise performance. The majority of these studies (about 70%) indicate that creatine supplementation promotes a statistically significant improvement in exercise capacity.28 This means that 95 times out of 100, if you take creatine as described in the study, you will experience a significant improvement in exercise performance. The average gain in performance from these studies typically ranges between 10 and 15%. For example, short-term creatine supplementation has been reported to improve maximal power/strength (5 to 15%), work performed during sets of maximal effort muscle contractions (5 to 15%), single-effort sprint performance (1 to 5%), and work performed during repetitive sprint performance (5 to 15%).28 Long-term creatine supplementation appears to enhance the quality of training, generally leading to 5 to 15% greater gains in strength and performance.28 Nearly all studies indicate that creatine supplementation increases body mass by about 1 to 2 kg in the first week of loading.28 In training studies, subjects taking creatine typically gain about twice as much body mass or FFM (i.e., an extra 2 to 4 pounds of muscle mass during 4 to 12 weeks of training) than subjects taking a placebo. No study has reported that creatine supplementation significantly impairs exercise capacity, although some have suggested that weight gain may potentially impair performance in swimming or running. Although all studies do not report significant results, the preponderance of scientific evidence indicates that creatine supplementation appears to be an effective nutritional ergo-genic aid for a variety of exercise tasks in a number of athletic and clinical populations.12,28 The following highlights some of the recent research that has evaluated the effects of short- and long-term creatine supplementation on exercise performance and training adaptations.

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