Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of creatine supplementation in conjunction with resistance training on physiological adaptations including muscle fiber hypertrophy and muscle creatine accumulation.
Methods: Nineteen healthy resistance-trained men were matched and then randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to either a creatine (N = 10) or placebo (N = 9) group. Periodized heavy resistance training was performed for 12 wk. Creatine or placebo capsules were consumed (25 g x d(-1)) for 1 wk followed by a maintenance dose (5 g x d(-1)) for the remainder of the training.
Results: After 12 wk, significant (P < or = 0.05) increases in body mass and fat-free mass were greater in creatine (6.3% and 6.3%, respectively) than placebo (3.6% and 3.1%, respectively) subjects. After 12 wk, increases in bench press and squat were greater in creatine (24% and 32%, respectively) than placebo (16% and 24%, respectively) subjects. Compared with placebo subjects, creatine subjects demonstrated significantly greater increases in Type I (35% vs 11%), IIA (36% vs 15%), and IIAB (35% vs 6%) muscle fiber cross-sectional areas. Muscle total creatine concentrations were unchanged in placebo subjects. Muscle creatine was significantly elevated after 1 wk in creatine subjects (22%), and values remained significantly greater than placebo subjects after 12 wk. Average volume lifted in the bench press during training was significantly greater in creatine subjects during weeks 5-8. No negative side effects to the supplementation were reported.
Conclusion: Creatine supplementation enhanced fat-free mass, physical performance, and muscle morphology in response to heavy resistance training, presumably mediated via higher quality training sessions.