Recovery time: the effectiveness of creatine is influenced by the recovery intervals you take

Creatine and recovery intervals

Not another piece of research on creatine, we hear you cry! Surely we all know by now what a potentially useful ergogenic aid it is? Well, it’s true we can safely say that creatine has been shown to boost athletic performance in many situations. But there are a number of variables which may influence its effectiveness, one of which, it now appears, is the duration of recovery intervals in a workout.

A team of researchers from Arizona set out to examine the effects of varying recovery intervals on multiple-bout, short-duration, high-intensity cycling efforts in a group of male subjects. The participants were put through their paces before and after a six-day supplementation period. Each subject completed eight 15-second bouts of sprint cycling with three different recovery conditions: one-minute, three-minute and six-minute.

After this initial session, they were split into two groups for six days’ supplementation with either creatine monohydrate or placebo, before returning to the lab to repeat the session.

After analysing the data, the researchers found that creatine-induced performance improvements were most likely to occur with shorter recovery intervals of three minutes or less.

The practical implication of this research is that training programmes designed to maximise the performance-enhancing properties of creatine should be planned around high-intensity workouts interspersed with minimal recovery periods.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol 16 (1), pp 109-116

Nick Grantham

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