Creatine is one of the most used supplements in the world. If you’re familiar with creatine, then you’ll know that just 2.5-5 grams of this white powder a day can help you build muscle, gain strength, and look fuller. However, new research might suggest that creatine is actually more effective for 50% of your body. Specifically, the areas of your upper body: chest, shoulders, arms, and back.
What’s the Research?
A study posted in the Nutrition and Health journal looked closer at the effects of creatine on the body when combined with resistance training which is how most creatine-takers exercise. The researchers took 43 men aged between 20 and 26 who were familiar with lifting weights. The individuals averaged a bodyweight of 73kg and a height of 178cm, meaning that they most likely carried a good proportion of muscle mass. 22 of the men were then given creatine to supplement over the 8-week period while 21 took a placebo.
How Was the Creatine Supplemented?
There are two methods of supplementing with creatine: loading and consistent dosing. Loading involves taking an abundance of creatine in a short time to fully saturate the muscles quickly before returning to a standard daily dose, whereas consistent dosing just involves taking a standard daily dose throughout the whole period.
In this study, the individuals loaded over 7 days with four doses relating to 0.3 grams of creatine per kilogram each day. So, for a 70kg individual, they would take 21 grams each day spread into four. After this, they took a maintenance dose of 0.03 grams per kilogram of bodyweight each day or 2.1 grams for a 70kg individual. This second phase lasted for 7 weeks.
What Was Their Training Like?
Throughout the 8-week period, the men performed four sessions of resistance training each week following a “two way split routine”. Monday and Thursday consisted of chest, shoulders, triceps, and abs whilst Tuesday and Friday consisted of back, biceps, thighs, and calves.
What Did the Results Show?
There was a noticeable difference between the increase in muscle size for the creatine-supplementing group with the upper body growing more than the lower body. However, there were greater increases in muscle size across the whole body with the creatine-supplementing group as opposed to the placebo group.
What Can You Take From This?
Creatine is an effective supplement to take on a regular basis. It positively affects muscle growth, particularly in the upper limbs. However, take these results with a pinch of salt. It’s clear from the training regime that the upper body was being trained four times per week whilst the lower body was only trained twice per week. This higher volume might also be a reason for the split in results.