Creatine is a nutrient, made from three amino acids, which is found in body muscles (Sahelian, 2000). There have been many claims that taking creatine supplements can assist with muscle building, a fact that makes it of key interest to weightlifters. The purpose of this paper is to briefly review some of the current research on creatine and weightlifting.
Substantial research has examined the effects of creatine as it relates to bodybuilding or weightlifting. In an effort to bring more clarity to the findings of this research, Dempsey, Mazzone, and Meur (2002) investigated whether oral creatine increased maximal strength and power by conducting a meta analysis of research studies that had investigated creatine in relation to bodybuilding. Sixteen studies were identified for inclusion in the conducted meta analysis. Outcome measures in these studies included Pre-supplementation and post-supplementation change in maximal weight lifted, cycle ergometry sprint peak power, and isokinetic dynamometer peak torque.
In almost all studies included in the meta-analysis, findings were said to show that the maximum weight lifted was significantly greater after creatine, greater for bench press and squats in particular. Based on a review of all studies, it was concluded that oral creatine supplementation, when combined with resistance training, increases maximal weight lifted in young men. However, the authors noted that they found no evidence for improved performance in older individuals or women or for other types of strength and power exercises. They further cautioned that the safety of creatine remains unproven and thus it cannot be universally recommended. This article is impressive in that, being a meta-analysis, its conclusions are based not on any one study but on several. This leads to stronger levels of confidence in Dempsey et. al's (2002) conclusions.
Regarding the safety of creatine, Schnirring (1998) conducted a litera...