Are you looking to build strength, gain mass and improve your physique? Then be sure to lift heavy and include these three strength boosters to your list of must-have strength training supplements.
When we define physical strength in simple terms, it’s the ability to exert force on objects through the use of your muscles. Due to the body’s incredible ability to heal and adapt, doing various feats of strength repeatedly can lead to serious strength and muscle gains. There’s no question that the adaptive process entails composite biochemical and physiological process, which leads to the tireless work of research and development teams of supplement companies to come up with highly effective supplements to further boost the body’s already amazing ability to adapt. Years of research have led to the discovery of several compounds that can speed up strength development. But with the sheer number of products available on the market, finding what actually works can be a tedious and expensive process.
This article focuses on three must-haves that have been scientifically proven to boost strength within a short period of time.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the most commonly used strength supplement is also the most researched in the world. Several hundred studies support caffeine as a safe and effective stimulant that can boost cognitive function, burn more fat during exercise, delay the onset of fatigue and increase pain tolerance. When it comes to its strength-boosting properties, caffeine can be viewed as a rare supplement as it can improve strength almost instantly.
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published one recent study that showed that one dose of caffeine prior to training improves the maximum voluntary contraction strength of both the upper and lower body better than a placebo. The researchers also noted that the effects of caffeine in terms of boosting strength are more evident among trained individuals.
The recommended dose of caffeine is 200mg to 400mg at least an hour before training. If it’s your first time to consume caffeine, then you can start out with the lowest dose and gradually work your way up based on your tolerance levels. Watch out for some symptoms including heart palpitations, shaking and nervousness, as these are signs that you’ve consumed too much caffeine. If you’re a regular drinker of coffee or tea, it’s recommended to have your pre-workout dose at least six hours after drinking your last sip.
Countless peer-reviewed researches have been conducted for several decades, all supporting the different performance-boosting benefits of taking creatine. Although it’s one of the best strength training supplements, creatine doesn’t work right away after your first dose. Strength gains become more apparent after four to six weeks of regular creatine supplementation. A recent meta-analysis and review published in Sports Medicine showed that creatine is particularly effective at improving lower-limb strength especially for exercises done in three minutes or less, such as a couple of sets of squats. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research published a similar review, explaining that creatine supplementation enhances one-rep max strength and the maximum number of repetitions completed by 10 and 15 percent on average, respectively.
Creatine comes in many different forms, but the most studied is creatine monohydrate. For this reason, many experts suggest sticking to this form of creatine. The recommended dose is 3 to 5 grams of creatine monohydrate twice at most daily. During your workout days, take one done at least half an hour before training and another dose immediately after your session is complete.
This amino acid has been scientifically proven to increase the muscle carnosine levels of the body. According to research, four weeks of regular beta-alanine supplementation can elevate muscle carnosine levels by upwards of 60 percent. What’s the significance of this in terms of strength building? Higher muscle carnosine enhances the ability of the body to buffer the acidity or the skeletal muscle pH when performing extended high-intensity exercises. Since one of the leading causes of fatigue when performing a heavy exercise can be attributed to decreases in pH, experts say that an increase in muscle carnosine levels would solve this problem and lead to a boost in strength. While beta-alanine isn’t as popular as other strength training supplements, it’s certainly one of the most effective.
Two to three grams is the recommended dose of beta-alanine, one before and another after training. During rest days, take two to three grams when you eat breakfast and another two to three grams in the evening.