Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to examine the effects of 6 wk of oral creatine supplementation during a periodized program of arm flexor strength training on arm flexor IRM, upper arm muscle area, and body composition.
Methods: Twenty-three male volunteers with at least 1 yr of weight training experience were assigned in a double blind fashion to two groups (Cr, N = 10; Placebo, N = 13) with no significant mean pretest one repetition maximum (IRM) differences in arm flexor strength. Cr ingested 5 g of creatine monohydrate in a flavored, sucrose drink four times per day for 5 d. After 5 d, supplementation was reduced to 2 g x d(-1). Placebo ingested a flavored, sucrose drink. Both drinks were 500 mL and made with 32 g of sucrose. IRM strength of the arm flexors, body composition, and anthropometric upper arm muscle area (UAMA) were measured before and after a 6-wk resistance training program. Subjects trained twice per week with training loads that began at 6RM and progressed to 2RM.
Results: IRM for Cr increased (P < 0.01) from (mean +/- SD) 42.8 +/- 17.7 kg to 54.7 +/- 14.1 kg, while IRM for Placebo increased (P < 0.01) from 42.5 +/- 15.9 kg to 49.3 +/- 15.7 kg. At post-test IRM was significantly (P < 0.01) greater for Cr than for Placebo. Body mass for Cr increased (P < 0.01) from 86.7 +/- 14.7 kg to 88.7 +/- 13.8 kg. Fat-free mass for Cr increased (P < 0.01) from 71.2 +/- 10.0 kg to 72.8 +/- 10.1 kg. No changes in body mass or fat-free mass were found for Placebo. There were no changes in fat mass and percent body fat for either group. UAMA increased (P < 0.01) 7.9 cm2 for Cr and did not change for Placebo.
Conclusion: Creatine supplementation during arm flexor strength training lead to greater increases in arm flexor muscular strength, upper arm muscle area, and fat-free mass than strength training alone.