Branched-chain amino acids do not improve muscle recovery from resistance exercise in untrained young adults

Amino Acids. 2019 Sep;51(9):1387-1395. doi: 10.1007/s00726-019-02776-5. Epub 2019 Aug 29.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of BCAA supplementation on muscle recovery from resistance exercise (RE) in untrained young adults. Twenty-four young adults (24.0 ± 4.3 years old) were assigned to 1 of 2 groups (n = 12 per group): a placebo-supplement group or a BCAA-supplement group. The groups were supplemented for a period of 5 days. On day 1 and 3, both groups underwent a RE session involving two lower body exercises (hack squat and leg press) and then were evaluated for muscle recovery on the 3 subsequent moments after the RE session [30 min (day 3), 24 h (day 4), and 48 h (day 5)]. The following indicators of muscle recovery were assessed: number of repetitions, rating of perceived exertion in the last RE session, muscle soreness and countermovement jump (CMJ) during recovery period (30 min, 24 h, and 48 h after RE session). Number of repetitions remained unchanged over time (time, P > 0.05), while the rating of perceived exertion increased (time, P < 0.05) over 3 sets, with no difference between groups (group × time, P > 0.05). Muscle soreness increased (time, P < 0.05) and jumping weight decreased (time, P < 0.05) at 30 min post-exercise and then progressively returned to baseline at 24 and 48 h post-exercise, with no difference between groups (group × time, P > 0.05). The results indicate that BCAA supplementation does not improve muscle recovery from RE in untrained young adults.

Keywords: Essential amino acids; Muscle function; Muscle power; Muscle soreness; Strength exercise; Supplementation.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / administration & dosage*
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Myalgia
  • Resistance Training*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain