Its been about 3 months
and thousands of pounds of new muscle since the last HS:Report.
There's quite a bit of news to share along with the usual research updates.
We have a great issue this month, including new research on the perceived
risk of injury from creatine supplementation, a new study by the good
folks at Eastern Michigan on ribose, and as usual, more of the best info
on muscle there is to be had anywhere.
But first, there is a new
section added to the Hypertrophy-Specific
Training Forum. Due to the rapidly growing interest in HST, new membership
on the board is growing rapidly along with inquiries into the basic principles
of weight training, diet, etc. This normally wouldn't be a problem, however,
often after people have spent a lot of time on a particular message board,
they grow tired of seeing the same questions asked over and over, and
worse yet, grow impatient with those people asking them. In addition,
as many of you know, much of the info on the Forum is quite technical,
and if you're not "into" science, a lot of the info seems a
bit esoteric. So we created a "Basic
Training Principles and Methods" section where no question is
too basic. Please feel free to ask any question that you might have whether
it is about what the term "rep" means, or even what a calorie
is. No question is a stupid question when you don't have the answer!
I'd also like to invite
you to fill out a research questionnaire for one of our members. He is
participating in conducting a study collecting psychological data from
weightlifters and bodybuilders. I would encourage you to take a few minutes
out the questionnaire. It only takes a few minutes and all the info
remains anonymous and confidential. All are encouraged to fill out the
survey, regardless of your level of enthusiasm for bodybuilding.
I'd also like to apologize
for the backorder on Primer and Driver. It is a long story and I won't
bad mouth anybody, but let me say this, no matter how long it takes or
how many batches of product further delay orders because they failed HSN's
Quality Control, HSN products will remain at the top of the list when
it comes to quality and effectiveness or they will not be shipped to store
shelves. You have my personal guarantee on that.
Finally, I would like to
offer my condolences to the friends and family of Dr. Mel Siff. I've always
placed great value on Dr. Siff's and Dr. Verkhoshansky's work "SuperTraining"
and enjoyed Mel's support when sharing this info with the bodybuilding
community several years ago. Dr. Mel Siff was a senior lecturer for over
30 years at the School of Mechanical Engineering at the University of
the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. His major areas of research
were strength conditioning, biomechanics, injury rehabilitation, electrostimulation,
and ergonomics. He received his Ph.D. in physiology, on a topic involving
the biochemical analysis of soft tissues and a M.Sc. in Applied Mathematics,
specializing in brain research. He has published widely and lectured in
many countries including the U.S., England, Australia and Israel. He received
two Meritorious Service awards for "exceptional contribution to sport"
at this university, whose Sports Council passed a resolution (20/78) thanking
him "for doing more for Wits (University) sport than any other individual
in the history of the university". He also competed in Olympic weightlifting,
karate, trampoline, cricket and track-and-field.
And now without further
ado, Please take your time and enjoy issue #7 of The Report. And remember,
we want your feedback!
Supplementation and Its Effect on Musculotendinous Stiffness and Performance.
L. WATSFORD, ARON J. MURPHY, and WARWICK L. SPINKS, ANDREW D. WALSHE*
Movement Department, School of Leisure, Sport, and Tourism, University
of Technology, Sydney, Australia 2070
Reference: The Journal of Strength
and Conditioning Research: (2003) Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 26Ð33.
reports suggesting that creatine (Cr) supplementation may cause side effects,
such as an increased incidence of muscle strains or tears, require scientific
examination. In this study, it was hypothesized that the rapid fluid retention
and lean tissue accretion evident after Cr supplementation may cause an
increase in musculotendinous stiffness.
men were randomly allocated to a control or an experimental group and
were examined for musculotendinous stiffness of the triceps surae and
for numerous performance indices before and after Cr ingestion.
Results: The Cr
group achieved a significant increase in body mass (79.7 ± 10.8 kg vs.
80.9 ± 10.7 kg), counter movement jump height (40.2 ± 4.8 cm vs. 42.7
± 5.9 cm), and 20-cm drop jump height (32.3 ± 3.3 cm vs. 35.1 ± 4.8 cm)
after supplementation. No increase was found for musculotendinous stiffness
at any assessment load. There were no significant changes in any variables
within the control group.
findings have both performance- and injury-related implications. Primarily,
anecdotal evidence suggesting that Cr supplementation causes muscular
strain injuries is not supported by this study. In addition, the increase
in jump performance is indicative of performance enhancement in activities
requiring maximal power output.
the most common misconception I hear from coaches, parents, and even uninformed
athletes, is that creatine causes injuries. Before gently debunking their
concerns I ask why they think creatine would cause injuries. Nine out
of ten times the answer is dehydration. Dehydration? What?! Ok, ok, rather
than get sarcastic I'll simply explain that the osmotic effect of creatine
doesn't affect your body's hydration state. On the contrary, creatine
supplementation increases total body water. (1,2)
Another injury related
misconception about creatine is that it causes cramps. Recent research
indicates that in fact, creatine may produce the opposite affect by increasing
the muscle's ability to relax. (3,4) To further corroborate this, recent
research found that creatine supplementation actually decreased the incidence
of muscle cramping in haemodialysis patients. (5) Muscle cramping is a
common and frustrating complication of haemodialysis treatment.
This study is only one
more in a growing line of research done to explore and confirm the safety
of creatine supplementation. Nevertheless, as with any supplement, there
will be uninformed skepticism, and as long as there is a lack of information
or worse, misinformation, we will continue to share research to establish
the truth for the benefit of all, whether you chose to use supplements
1: Hultman, E, Soderlund
K, Timmons A, Cedarblad JG, and Greenhaff PL. Muscle creatine loading
in men. J Appl Physiol 81: 232-237, 1996
2: Ziegenfuss, TN, Lowery
LM, and Lemon PWR Acute fluid changes in men during three days of creatine
supplementation. JEPonline 1: 3, 1998.
3: van Leemputte M, Vandenberghe
K, Hespel P Shortening of muscle relaxation time after creatine loading.
J Appl Physiol 1999 Mar;86(3):840-4
4: Hespel P, Op't Eijnde
B, Van Leemputte M. Opposite actions of caffeine and creatine on muscle
relaxation time in humans. J Appl Physiol. 2002 Feb;92(2):513-8.
5: Chang CT, Wu CH, Yang
CW, Huang JY, Wu MS. Creatine monohydrate treatment alleviates muscle
cramps associated with haemodialysis. Nephrol Dial Transplant. 2002 Nov;17(11):1978-81.
Title: Effects of
Ribose Supplementation on Repeated Sprint Performance in Men
M. BERARDI and TIM N. ZIEGENFUSS
Physiology Laboratory, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Reference: The Journal of Strength
and Conditioning Research: (2003) Vol. 17, No. 1, pp. 47Ð52.
Summary: This study
used a randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover design to evaluate the
effects of oral ribose supplementation on short-term anaerobic performance.
Methods: After familiarization,
subjects performed 2 bouts of repeated cycle sprint exercise (six 10-second
sprints with 60-second rest periods between sprints) in a single day.
After the second exercise bout, subjects ingested 32 g of ribose or cellulose
(4 _ 8-g doses) during the next 36 hours. After supplementation, subjects
returned to the laboratory to perform a single bout of cycle sprinting
(as described above). After a 5-day washout period, subjects repeated
the protocol, receiving the opposite supplement treatment.
supplementation lead to statistically significant increases in mean power
and peak power only in sprint 2 (10.9 and 6.6%, respectively) and higher
(although not significant) absolute values in sprints 1, 3, and 4.
Conclusion: In conclusion,
ribose supplementation did not show reproducible increases in performance
across all 6 sprints. Therefore, within the framework of this investigation,
it appears that ribose supplementation does not have a consistent or substantial
effect on anaerobic cycle sprinting.
we touch on this study, lets review what exactly ribose is for a second.
Ribose is a naturally occurring
5-carbon sugar called a "pentose". It is found in several foods we eat,
but our body makes most of the ribose it needs from scratch. It is active
in many of our body's systems, usually in its D-form (the L- form is it's
mirror opposite). D-Ribose plays an important role as a structural component
of high-energy phosphates such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as well
as nucleic acids like DNA. As you can guess, ribose is an important substrate
for every system and tissue in your body. When we consider taking ribose
as a dietary supplement we are mainly focusing on its role as a substrate
in ATP production, theoretically to improve exercise performance.
This is exactly the kind
of research that we need on ALL supplements we spend our money on. Imagine
if prescription drugs didn't have to be effective to be sold by doctors.
It's a ludicrous thought! So why do we continue to spend our money on
supps that haven't really been tested to see if they in fact do anything
beneficial? If you're like me, its because we are desperate to make gains,
desperate to see changes in our body, and desperate to find a way to ensure
that all our hard work in the gym is going to pay off.
That brings us to our present
study. The recommended dose for Ribose when you buy it as a supplement
is 3 grams per day. Lest there be any doubt, they use 32 grams per day
in this study, eliminating any doubt that they might not have used enough
to see an effect.
Using over 10 times the
recommended dose, these investigators were unable to produce a statistically
significant and consistent effect. There own conclusions tell it all,
"This investigation has not revealed any clear performance increases with
oral ribose supplementation using doses even higher than those commonly
ingested. Therefore, with the current high-price tag of oral ribose supplements,
ribose does not appear to be a cost-effective supplement for athletes."
Might I ad that it clearly is not a cost effective supplement for bodybuilders
Before wrapping this up
I wanted to mention one other thing about attempts to prevent ATP levels
from dropping. There are some beneficial adaptations to exercise that
actually require a temporary reduction in ATP levels. This drop in ATP
levels serves as the stimulus for metabolic adaptations. One of the most
important ones is the increase in insulin sensitivity and/or glucose uptake
into muscle cells after training. Studies have shown that if you artificially
maintain ATP levels during the initiation of a high intensity exercise
program, you don't get the up regulation of glucose transport into muscle
Let me qualify these statements
by saying that these studies were done on animals, and that ATP levels
were maintained by means other than ribose supplementation. Nevertheless,
these studies should tell the discerning supplement consumer that trying
to reduce the metabolic consequences of training might be good for short-term
performance, but in the long run, it also reduces the potency of the training
1: Yaspelkis BB 3rd, Castle
AL, Ding Z, Ivy JL. Attenuating the decline in ATP arrests the exercise
training-induced increases in muscle GLUT4 protein and citrate synthase
activity. Acta Physiol Scand. 1999 Jan;165(1):71-9.
Without Power Training: Endogenously Regulated Pectoral Muscle Hypertrophy
in Confined Shorebirds.
MW, Piersma T, Dekinga A.
for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, Zoological Laboratory, University
of Groningen. The Netherlands and Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Reference: Journal of Experimental
Biology. 1999 Oct; 202 (Pt 20):2831-7.
such as Red Knots (Calidris canutus) routinely make migratory flights
of 3000 km or more. Previous studies on this species, based on compositional
analyses, suggest extensive pectoral muscle hypertrophy in addition to
fat storage before take-off. Such hypertrophy could be due to power training
and/or be effected by an endogenous circannual rhythm.
Methods: Red Knots
of two subspecies with contrasting migration patterns were placed in a
climate-controlled aviary (12 h:12 h L:D photoperiod) where exercise was
limited. Using ultrasonography, we measured pectoral muscle size as the
birds stored fat in preparation for migration.
Results: At capture,
there were no differences in body mass and pectoral muscle mass between
the two subspecies. As they prepared for southward and northward migration,
respectively, the tropically wintering subspecies (C. c. canutus) gained
31g and the temperate wintering subspecies (C. c. islandica) gained 41g.
During this time, pectoral mass increased by 43-44 % of initial mass,
representing 39% (C. c. canutus) and 29% (C. c. islandica) of the increase
in body mass. The gizzard showed atrophy in conjunction with a diet change
from molluscs to food pellets.
we cannot exclude the possibility that the birds' limited movement may
still be a prerequisite for pectoral muscle hypertrophy, extensive power
training is certainly not a requirement. Muscle hypertrophy in the absence
of photoperiod cues suggests the involvement of an endogenous circannual
of you may be thinking, "What do we care about shore birds?" Well, admittedly,
if you are not a bird watcher, which I am not, we don't really care about
shore birds. But these shore birds are no ordinary shore birds! The pecs
on these guys actually grow once a year without any kind of exercise.
Now that is interesting...
Essentially what these
researchers found was that these birds have a circadian rhythm of sorts
that acts on a yearly cycle, causing significant muscle growth every year,
right on schedule. This is just one more amazing physiological adaptation
involving muscle growth we find in nature, but not in humans. Another
nifty adaptation we find is in bears that hibernate. They are able to
go a few months without food and yet not lose any muscle mass. Their bodies,
with the help of willing kidneys, are able to recycle amino acids so that
no muscle mass is lost despite not eating any food at all.
Of course these two examples
have little to do with what I or you are going to do in the gym today,
but it does expand the mind to the possibilities of the future...a little
genetic tinkering and presto! Muscles that grow on their own just in time
for summer, and at the same time are entirely immune from the ravages
of dieting. Not a bad future wouldn't you say?