Effects of leucine and whey protein supplementation during eight weeks of unilateral resistance training

J Strength Cond Res. 2006 May;20(2):284-91. doi: 10.1519/R-17925.1.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of resistance training in combination with a leucine and whey protein supplement or a carbohydrate placebo on strength and muscle cross-sectional area (CSA). Thirty-three men (mean age +/- SD = 22.4 +/- 2.4 years) were assigned to 1 of 3 groups: (1) supplementation group (SUPP), (2) placebo group (PL), or (3) control group (CON). The SUPP and PL performed unilateral training of the leg extensor muscles with the nondominant limb for 8 weeks. The strength of each limb, muscle CSA of the quadriceps femoris (QF), and body composition were assessed pretraining and posttraining. The results indicated significant increases in strength for both limbs in the SUPP but only the trained limb in the PL. The increase in strength for the trained limb of the SUPP was greater than that for the trained limb of the PL. There was no significant increase in strength for either limb in the CON. There were significant increases in the CSA of all muscles of the QF of the trained limb for the SUPP and PL, and of the vastus lateralis of the untrained limb for the SUPP. The increases in QF CSA did not differ between the SUPP and PL. No significant CSA changes were found for either limb in the CON. There were no significant changes in body composition for the SUPP, PL, or CON. The current findings suggest that leucine and whey protein supplementation may provide an ergogenic effect which enhances the acquisition of strength beyond that achieved with resistance training and a carbohydrate placebo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology
  • Leucine / administration & dosage*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Milk Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / anatomy & histology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Whey Proteins


  • Milk Proteins
  • Whey Proteins
  • Leucine