Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of oral creatine monohydrate supplementation on multiple sprint cycle and skating performance in ice-hockey players.
Participants: sixteen elite ice-hockey players were selected as subjects.
Experimental design: subjects were randomly assigned to either a creatine (Cr) (n = 8) or a placebo (P) group (n = 8) in a double blind design. After familiarization and baseline tests, subjects loaded with 5 g of creatine monohydrate or placebo (glucose) four times per day for 5 days, after which a maintenance dose of 5 g per day for 10 weeks was administered. At baseline, and after 10 days and 10 weeks of supplementation, subjects performed i) a cycle test involving 5 all-out sprints of 15 sec duration separated by 15 sec recovery with the resistance set at 0.075 body mass (kg), and ii) 6 timed 80-m skating sprints with the sprints initiated every 30 sec and a split time taken at 47 m.
Results: A two-way ANOVA demonstrated no significant change in any of the variables in the P group over the period of study. However, in the Cr group, average mean power output over the 5 sprints was significantly higher at 10 days (1074 +/- 241 W) and 10 weeks (1025 +/- 216 W) than at baseline (890 +/- 172 W), (p < 0.01). Average peak power output over the 5 sprints improved significantly from baseline (1294 +/- 311 W) to 10 days (1572 +/- 463 W), (p < 0.01). Average on-ice sprint performance to 47 m was significantly faster at 10 days (6.88 +/- 0.21 sec) and 10 weeks (6.96 +/- 0.19 sec) than at baseline (7.17 +/- 0.27 sec), (p < 0.005).
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that creatine supplementation has an ergogenic effect in elite ice-hockey players.