Effect of creatine ingestion after exercise on muscle thickness in males and females

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2004 Oct;36(10):1781-8. doi: 10.1249/01.mss.0000142301.70419.c6.


Muscles exercised before creatine (Cr) supplementation have a greater elevation of intramuscular Cr than nonexercised muscles.

Purpose: To determine whether preferential increase of muscle thickness could be achieved by ingesting Cr immediately after exercise of specific muscles over 6 wk. Another purpose was to determine if the increase in lean tissue mass (LTM) with Cr supplementation is greater in males than females.

Methods: Subjects randomly assigned to Cr (six males, five females, 0.2 g Cr x kg(-1)) and placebo (PL; five males, five females) performed single-limb training with one side of the body two times per week and with the opposite limbs two times per week. Cr was consumed after training of one side of the body and PL after training the opposite side. Subjects on PL always consumed PL after exercise. Elbow flexors and knee extensors muscle thickness, LTM, fat, and bone mass, and single-limb bench and leg press one-repetition maximum (1-RM) were assessed before and after 6 wk.

Results: Within the Cr group, elbow flexors muscle thickness increased more in the limbs trained on days Cr was supplemented compared with limbs trained on days PL was supplemented (P < 0.02). All other measures changed to a similar extent between limbs. Males on Cr had the greatest increase in LTM (P < 0.05) with no difference between females on Cr and PL. Bench press 1-RM increased more in Cr than PL groups (P < 0.01). All other measures changed to a similar extent between groups. Males increased bone mass (P < 0.01) with no effect of Cr supplementation.

Conclusion: Supplementing with Cr after training of the arms resulted in greater increase in muscle thickness of the arms. Males have a greater increase in LTM with Cr supplementation than females.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Creatine / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging*
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Ultrasonography


  • Creatine