The effects of acute branched-chain amino acid supplementation on recovery from a single bout of hypertrophy exercise in resistance-trained athletes

Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017 Jun;42(6):630-636. doi: 10.1139/apnm-2016-0569. Epub 2017 Jan 27.


This study investigated the effects of acute branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) supplementation on recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage among experienced resistance-trained athletes. In a double-blind matched-pairs design, 16 resistance-trained participants, routinely performing hypertrophy training, were randomly assigned to a BCAA (n = 8) or placebo (n = 8) group. The BCAAs were administered at a dosage of 0.087 g/kg body mass, with a 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The participants performed 6 sets of 10 full-squats at 70% 1-repetition maximum to induce muscle damage. All participants were diet-controlled across the study. Creatine kinase, peak isometric knee-extensor force, perceived muscle soreness, and countermovement jump (CMJ) height were measured immediately before (baseline) and at 1 h, 24 h, and 48 h postexercise. There were large to very large time effects for all measurements between baseline and 24-48 h. Between-group comparisons, expressed as a percentage of baseline, revealed differences in isometric strength at 24-h (placebo ∼87% vs. BCAA ∼92%; moderate, likely), CMJ at 24 h (placebo ∼93% vs. BCAA ∼96%; small, likely), and muscle soreness at both 24 h (placebo ∼685% vs. BCAA ∼531%; small, likely) and 48 h (placebo ∼468% vs. BCAA ∼350%; small, likely). Acute supplementation of BCAAs (0.087 g/kg) increased the rate of recovery in isometric strength, CMJ height, and perceived muscle soreness compared with placebo after a hypertrophy-based training session among diet-controlled, resistance-trained athletes. These findings question the need for longer BCAA loading phases and highlight the importance of dietary control in studies of this type.

Keywords: acides aminés; amino acids, muscle damage, hypertrophy, recovery, supplementation; exercice physique; exercise; hypertrophie; lésion musculaire; récupération; supplémentation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / administration & dosage*
  • Athletes*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Creatine Kinase / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength
  • Myalgia / drug therapy
  • Myalgia / prevention & control*
  • Physical Endurance*
  • Resistance Training*
  • Young Adult


  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain
  • Creatine Kinase