Volek, J. S., Duncan, N. D., Mazzetti, S. A., Staron, R. S., Putukian, M., Gomez, A. L., Pearson, D. R., Fink, W. J., & Kraemer, W. J. (1997). Performance and muscle fiber adaptations to creatine supplementation and heavy resistance training. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31, 1147-1156.

The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of creatine supplementation in conjunction with resistance training on physiological adaptations including muscle fiber hypertrophy and muscle creatine accumulation. Healthy resistance-trained men were matched and then randomly assigned in a double-blind fashion to either a creatine (N = 10) or placebo (N = 9) group. Periodized heavy resistance training was performed for 12 weeks. Creatine or placebo capsules were consumed (25 gm/day) for 1 week followed by a maintenance dose (5 gm/day) for the remainder of the training.

Significant increases in body mass (6.3%) and fat-free mass (6.3%) were greater in creatine than placebo (3.6% and 3.1%, respectively) groups. Bench press and squat increases were greater in creatine (24% and 32%, respectively) than placebo (16% and 24%, respectively) groups. Compared with placebo subjects, creatine subjects demonstrated significantly greater increases in Type I (35% vs 11%), IIA (36% vs 15%), and IIAB (35% vs 6%) muscle fiber cross-sectional areas. Muscle total creatine concentrations were unchanged in placebo subjects. Muscle creatine was significantly elevated after 1 week in creatine subjects (22%), and values remained significantly greater than placebo subjects after 12 wk. Average volume lifted in the bench press during training was significantly greater in creatine subjects during weeks 5-8. No negative side effects to the supplementation were reported.

Implication. Creatine supplementation enhanced fat-free mass, physical performance, and muscle morphology in response to heavy resistance training, presumably mediated via higher quality training sessions.

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