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The Effects of Creatine on the Sub-Max Bench Press of High School Athletes

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The Effects of Creatine on The Sub-Max Bench Press of High School Athletes

Hakeem Raji

The Academy of Research and Medical Sciences at South Cobb Highschool


        

Abstract

Synthesized in the liver, pancreas and kidneys, the amino acid creatine is broken down to provide the body short bouts of energy. The purpose of the study is to determine if creatine supplementation will increase strength gains in high school athletes. This study consisted of testing 15 high school males, ages 16-18, and the effects of creatine supplementation during a week of experimentation. Data from this study was collected to compare the number of repetitions completed pre-and post-treatment. Results from this study showed a slight increase in the mean number of repetitions completed.

Introduction

In 1996, three out of four Olympic weightlifting medalists had one major thing in common; That was they all took creatine as a supplement for their weight training. “Creatine is an amino acid derivative that occurs naturally to a small extent in the human body. Approximately 2% of total body creatine is synthesized in the liver, pancreas and kidney. It is found primarily in skeletal muscle. Creatine in its free and phosphorylated form, plays a crucial role in skeletal muscle energy metabolism (Wilborn, Taylor, Outlaw, Williams, Campbell, Foster, Hayward, 2013). Creatine was first discovered in 1832 and by 1923 scientists found that almost all of creatine was stored in muscles tissue. Many foods, such as salmon, tune, and beef have high levels of creatine, but the best way to get creatine is in its pure form. Creatine is an amino acid in the form of phosphocreatine and is broken down to create energy used for intense short bouts of expenditure. Every person has certain amounts of creatine stored in their muscles but scientists found that muscles can store additional creatine. Uptake of creatine into skeletal muscle may stimulate transcription factors that control protein synthesis or increase phosphocreatine stores, which may allow for greater amount of work performed during individual training sessions (Wilborn et al.,2013).

Short-term creatine supplementation (20 g/day for 5-7 days) has typically been reported to increase total creatine content by 10-30% and phosphocreatine stores by 10-40% (Rae, Digney, McEwan, Bates, 2003). Of the approximately 300 studies that have evaluated the potential ergogenic value of creatine supplementation, about 70% of these studies report statistically significant results while remaining studies generally report non-significant gains in performance (Spillane, 2007). No study reports a statistically significant ergolytic effect. For example, short-term creatine supplementation has been reported to improve maximal power/strength, work performed during sets of maximal effort muscle contractions, single-effort sprint performance, and work performed during repetitive sprint performance. Moreover, creatine supplementation during training has been reported to promote significantly greater gains in strength, fat free mass, and performance primarily of high intensity exercise tasks (Ormsbee et al., 2013). Although not all studies report significant results, the preponderance of scientific evidence indicates that creatine supplementation appears to be a generally effective nutritional ergogenic aid for a variety of exercise tasks in a number of athletic and clinical populations (Hill, 2011).

 Studies have shown that human muscles have room for extras creatine deposits, and many theories exist claiming that additional creatine intake will enable muscles to increase workload. Creatine supplementation has also been shown to enhance fat-free mass, and physical performance (Gonzalez, Walsh, Ratamess, Kang, Hoffman, 2011). The purpose of the study is to determine if creatine supplementation in the form of pure creatine monohydrate will increase strength/endurance gains in weightlifting. It will be hypothesized that creatine intake will increase muscle strength shown through the number of bench press repetitions completed by the participants.

Method and Materials

The subjects studied were high school males, ages 16-18 in overall good health. Subjects were selected by convenience sample with a requirement of completing a consent form. They were also required to be free of any amount of creatine supplementation or any supplement use for at least two weeks prior to training. The experiment consisted of 15 male high school athletes. Subjects were surveyed to indicate how often they lift weights and any possible supplementation taken within the last 48 hours. Each participant was asked to perform a 1 repetition max bench press and from that their 75% bench maximum will be calculated. After a 2-day break, subjects came back to perform 75% of their maximum bench press until failure. For the next 7 days the subjects were asked to take 20 grams of creatine daily (loading phase). After the week of supplementation, subjects came in for the third session where they were given creatine and asked to perform 75% of their maximum bench press until failure. The data collected will then be recorded and analyzed with an unpaired t-test to check for significance. The brand of creatine that was used is Optimum Nutrition which can be found in any GNC nutrition store.

Results

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There was no significant difference between the number of repetitions completed before supplementation of creatine and after. There was a slight increase in the mean number of repetitions completed by the group, but a statistical test proved that the results were not significant enough to conclude that creatine increased the number of repetitions completed by each athlete. The mean of the numbers recorded before creatine supplementation is 8, which is only one repetition lower than the mean recorded for after creatine supplementation. A dependent t-test was used to examine the change in the numbers of repetitions completed from pre-program to post program. Because the test values were defined by the means and standard error, the significance level was p = .7307, which did not fit in the 95% confidence interval (-2.7984 - 0.4984) meaning the mean of the post-treatment from pre-treatment was insignificant.

Discussion

Analysis of the data listed above says that the null-hypothesis is accepted and the research hypothesis, that that creatine intake will increase muscle strength shown through the number of repetitions completed on a bench press, is rejected. This study compared the sub max bench press of 15 high school males before and after creatine ingestion. During the week study the participants continued their previous personal workout programs for the entirety of the study. The study was conducted in this way so that no new training benefits could be linked to the introduction of a new training stimulus to the body. The subjects ingested a 20g dose of creatine for a 7-day loading phase and 5g thereafter on both workout and rest days. Upon completion of the week program. the number of repetitions completed was again recorded following the previous protocol. After the completion of the study it was evident creatine had no strong correlation on the increase of the number of bench press repetitions completed.

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