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Using Creatine Supplements to Improve Sprint Performance

Improving performance with supplements is a common practice, and creatine is a popular supplement used pre-performance with this exact objective in mind. Researchers were determined to find out if creatine supplements would improve performance in a multiple sprint trial.

Creatine is generally used to improve strength and conditioning in male athletes, and in bodybuilders and strength athletes wanting to gain weight and improve energy during training, in an attempt to increase capacity. Performance enhancers are generally only effective in specific training parameters. The energy systems used in training programs are responsive to specific aids. For example, endurance performance can be improved with caffeine, but sprint performance is not.

As such, researchers wanted to determine if creatine would specifically improve performance in multiple sprint performance.

42 male subjects took part in the study. Measures were taken at baseline of weight, body fat, and 100 meter sprint time, first for familiarisation, and then a base measure.

After the measures were taken at baseline, the subjects were separated into groups randomly, and were assigned a placebo or creatine monohydrate supplement for 5 days. After the treatment, the subjects returned for further sprint tests, followed by blood tests to determine post-workout blood lactate levels. They were also measured for body fat and body mass.

Compared to the placebo subjects, there was no significant difference in performance times, fatigue or blood lactate levels. However, the subjects taking creatine did increase body mass by an average of 0.7kg (between 0.02kg and 1.3kg), and decreased body fat by an average of 0.4%.

The results of this study show that performance may not be influenced by supplements which claim to improve it, at least in certain training parameters. However, further studies would be required to determine the longer term effect of taking creatine supplementation on sprint performance, since 5 days is a relatively short period of time.

Glaister, Mark; Lockey, RA, Abrahan, CS; Corinne, S; Staerck, A; Coodwin, J; Mcinnes, G. 2006. "Creatine Supplementation and Multiple Sprint Running Performance". Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

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