Bench press. One of the most common exercises in the fitness world, and usually accompanied by the question “how much can you bench?”
If lifting more weight is your goal, or perhaps you’re stuck on a plateau, creatine may be the answer you’re looking for.
For a long time creatine been known to help achieve better results in many movements and sports, along with helping (in some cases doubling) muscle growth!
These improvements occur via numerous mechanisms. Primarily, creatine increases your ATP energy stores. ATP energy is our most basic but also most powerful form of energy. It is also the main energy system used in exercises lasting 10 seconds or less, like the bench press exercise in this study.
Along with helping to increase energy, creatine can actually have a positive effect on many cellular processes that help us grow or add strength.
This includes boosting anabolic hormones and reducing other ‘proteins’ (not the type you eat, but a cell / enzyme like substance in the body) such as myostatins, which block muscle growth.
This study took 18 experienced and young powerlifters who had not used creatine before.
Participants were split into 2 groups and performed 2 testing sessions, one before the experiment and the other after 25 days of creatine supplementation.
During the first 5 days of the supplementation period subjects received 20g of Creatine and 30g of Gatorade (sports drink) or Placebo plus the 30g of Gatorade. This is known as the standard creatine load. To do it yourself, split the 20g of creatine into 4 separate doses. For example: 5g at 8am, 12pm, 4pm and 8pm.
After the first 5 day load, the dose was switched down to the standard 5g of Creatine with the Gatorade.
The 3 Repetition Maximum (3RM) test was done according to the international powerlifting rules. 50% of 1RM for warm up, 5 sets of 75% of 1RM, and then a load which subjects could no longer lift 3 times.
In the final test of 3 rep max bench press the Placebo group had increase of 2.3kg while Creatine group had significant increase of 8.9kg, almost 4 times more!
That is over a 300% increase compared to the non creatine group!!
Like with growing muscle, creatine is one of the best supplements to improve our strength either as part of a bodybuilding / weight lifting routine or as an important part of overall sport performance.
Best of all, you can pick up a months supply for about $10 HERE – talk about a win win!
Kelly, V. G., & Jenkins, D. G. (1998). Effect of oral creatine supplementation on near-maximal strength and repeated sets of high-intensity bench press exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 12(2), 109-115.