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Effect of Different Frequencies of Creatine Supplementation on Muscle Size and Strength in Young Adults

Candow, Darren G; Chilibeck, Philip D; Burke, Darren G; Mueller, Kristie D; Lewis, Jessica D

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: July 2011 - Volume 25 - Issue 7 - p 1831-1838
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e7419a
Original Research

Candow, DG, Chilibeck, PD, Burke, DG, Mueller, KD, and Lewis, JD. Effect of different frequencies of creatine supplementation on muscle size and strength in young adults. J Strength Cond Res 25(7): 1831-1838, 2011—The purpose was to determine if creatine supplementation, consumed immediately before and immediately after exercise, with different dosing frequency (i.e., 2 or 3 d wk−1) could enhance the gains in muscle size and strength from resistance training (RT) in young adults. A group of 38 physically active, nonresistance trained university students (21-28 years) was randomly allocated to 1 of 4 groups: CR2 (0.15 g·kg−1 creatine during 2 d wk−1 of RT; 3 sets of 10 repetitions; n = 11, 6 men, 5 women), CR3 (0.10 g·kg−1 creatine during 3 d wk−1 of RT; 2 sets of 10 repetitions; n = 11, 6 men, 5 women;), PLA2 (placebo during 2 d wk−1 of RT; n = 8, 5 men, 3 women), and PLA3 (placebo during 3 d wk−1 of RT; n = 8, 4 men, 4 women) for 6 weeks. Before and after training, measurements were taken for muscle thickness of the elbow and knee flexor and extensor muscle groups (ultrasound), 1-repetition maximumleg press and chest press strength, and kidney function (urinary microalbumin). Repeated-measures analysis of variance showed that strength and muscle thickness increased in all groups with training (p < 0.05). The CR2 (0.6 ± 0.9 cm or 20%; p < 0.05) and CR3 groups (0.4 ± 0.6 cm or 16.4%; p < 0.05) experienced greater change in muscle thickness of the elbow flexors compared to the PLA2 (0.05 ± 0.5 cm or 2.3%) and PLA3 groups (0.13 ± 0.7 cm or 6.3%). Men supplementing with creatine experienced a greater increase in leg press strength (77.3 ± 51.2 kg or 62%) compared to women on creatine (21.3 ± 10 kg or 34%, p < 0.05). We conclude that creatine supplementation during RT has a small beneficial effect on regional muscle thickness in young adults but that giving the creatine over 3 d wk−1 did not differ from giving the same dose over 2 d wk−1.

1Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies, University of Regina, Regina, Canada; 2College of Kinesiology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada; and 3Department of Human Kinetics, St. Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Canada

Address correspondence to Dr. Darren G. Candow,

Copyright © 2011 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.