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bcrigby


Feb 8, 2013, 8:16 PM
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Re: [macherry] Creatine? [In reply to]
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Haha, didn't dig it out on purpose, it's the #2 spot on Google for "Creatine and Rock Climbing" and I felt like it would be useful to have a more recent take on creatine posted, especially since so many of the posts warned about dangers that don't exist for healthy people!


Gmburns2000


Feb 9, 2013, 2:35 AM
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Re: [bcrigby] Creatine? [In reply to]
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bcrigby wrote:
Haha, didn't dig it out on purpose, it's the #2 spot on Google for "Creatine and Rock Climbing" and I felt like it would be useful to have a more recent take on creatine posted, especially since so many of the posts warned about dangers that don't exist for healthy people!

So, whose stock do you own?


bcrigby


Feb 9, 2013, 8:02 AM
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Re: [Gmburns2000] Creatine? [In reply to]
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Gmburns2000 wrote:
So, whose stock do you own?

If only!

Actually, I'm just a health/fitness writer by trade and starting my own sports nutrition consulting business soon. I guess there's room to interpret my motives as self-serving, but that wasn't my goal at all. I do feel like there's room to debate the utility of creatine supplementation for climbers without resorting to scare tactics, though!


jt512


Feb 9, 2013, 9:10 PM
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Re: [bcrigby] Creatine? [In reply to]
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bcrigby wrote:

Creatine will add 2-5 lbs to your weight because it associates with water. It will also make you last longer both on the wall and in total during a session because you add another fuel. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone to use, but I do believe that a significant portion of climbers, especially those who focus more on bouldering or single-pitch sport would benefit strongly from it.

There are no climbing-specific studies on this, but there's no reason why it shouldn't apply to climbers as well as the general athletic population.

One reason it might not apply to climbers is that the extra 25 lb of body weight might negate the improvement in strength.

Jay


bcrigby


Feb 9, 2013, 11:33 PM
Post #30 of 36 (1653 views)
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Re: [jt512] Creatine? [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
One reason it might not apply to climbers is that the extra 25 lb of body weight might negate the improvement in strength.

Agreed--it'd be interesting to actually see some studies done on climbers and creatine. I personally use creatine, and feel like it makes a huge difference, but I mostly boulder so it's all very short intense stuff.

My feeling is that if you climb mostly shorter, more power-dependent routes then you'd probably benefit. If you do mostly long, multi-pitch climbs then hauling all that extra weight might be counter-productive to your performance.


sungam


Mar 1, 2013, 7:55 AM
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Re: [jt512] Creatine? [In reply to]
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jt512 wrote:
bcrigby wrote:

Creatine will add 2-5 lbs to your weight because it associates with water. It will also make you last longer both on the wall and in total during a session because you add another fuel. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone to use, but I do believe that a significant portion of climbers, especially those who focus more on bouldering or single-pitch sport would benefit strongly from it.

There are no climbing-specific studies on this, but there's no reason why it shouldn't apply to climbers as well as the general athletic population.

One reason it might not apply to climbers is that the extra 25 lb of body weight might negate the improvement in strength.

Jay
Yeah but you lose the water retention pretty rapidly after coming off of it (most people use it in cycles) and skipping the loading phase of taking stupid amounts at the start greatly reduces the water retention as well. Some "special" creatine (for example creatine ethyl esther) claim to further reduce water retention as well.


bcrigby


Mar 1, 2013, 1:53 PM
Post #32 of 36 (1536 views)
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Re: [sungam] Creatine? [In reply to]
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I wouldn't buy into any idea of reduced water retention from any form of creatine--physiologically speaking, it requires water to be stored in the muscles. If there's no water retention, then your body isn't storing it where it's needed (or more likely at all). The "water weight" does come off quick, though.

I've been trying hard to piece the different areas of research together as to whether creatine will benefit climbers, and at this point I'm confident enough to say it's a definite yes. There isn't much research on climbing in general, and none on creatine use in climbing, but drawing assumptions from established research has me a firm believer.

Creatine use has consistently been shown in studies to not only increase absolute strength, but relative strength. Usually these studies are done on major muscle groups, like the legs, but there is no reason to assume the results would be different in the forearms. Attenuated, yes, but when given a long training period, the overall increases in strength found in the creatine group will at some point compensate for the extra 2-5 lbs gained. Thus, there may be a possible loss of relative strength initially, but it will be overcome with enough time.

More importantly, climbing performance is more dependent on strength endurance than relative strength, and creatine significantly adds to the energy pool upon which strength endurance is based for two reasons. 1) It adds more energy directly by boosting creatine phosphate stores and 2) It buffers hydrogen ion buildup by utilizing H+ in the reaction to turn ADP back into ATP.

As a final point, one study has shown that the anaerobic alactic energy system (the phosphocreatine system, PCr) can provide 34-41% of the total energy for a climb (abstract: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00421-007-0501-0?LI=true). Supplementing creatine could significantly improve strength endurance by adding to the capabilities of the PCr system.


jt512


Mar 2, 2013, 6:05 PM
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Re: [sungam] Creatine? [In reply to]
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sungam wrote:
jt512 wrote:
bcrigby wrote:

Creatine will add 2-5 lbs to your weight because it associates with water. It will also make you last longer both on the wall and in total during a session because you add another fuel. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone to use, but I do believe that a significant portion of climbers, especially those who focus more on bouldering or single-pitch sport would benefit strongly from it.

There are no climbing-specific studies on this, but there's no reason why it shouldn't apply to climbers as well as the general athletic population.

One reason it might not apply to climbers is that the extra 25 lb of body weight might negate the improvement in strength.

Jay
Yeah but you lose the water retention pretty rapidly after coming off of it (most people use it in cycles) and skipping the loading phase of taking stupid amounts at the start greatly reduces the water retention as well. Some "special" creatine (for example creatine ethyl esther) claim to further reduce water retention as well.

I think if you've lost the water retention, you've lost the creatine along with it.

Jay


jt512


Mar 2, 2013, 6:11 PM
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Re: [bcrigby] Creatine? [In reply to]
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bcrigby wrote:
I've been trying hard to piece the different areas of research together as to whether creatine will benefit climbers, and at this point I'm confident enough to say it's a definite yes. There isn't much research on climbing in general, and none on creatine use in climbing, but drawing assumptions from established research has me a firm believer.

The climbing-specific evidence isn't there. Be careful about falling in love with your assumptions.

Jay


bcrigby


Mar 2, 2013, 6:58 PM
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Re: [jt512] Creatine? [In reply to]
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My assumptions are based on the research which is available, which I grant is not climbing-specific. However, the body of evidence on the utility of creatine almost universally supports its application in sports which are primarily anaerobic, including other sports where body weight is an important consideration such as sprinting.

It's important to test hypotheses in sport-specific applications, but it's also important to recognize that similar systems behave in similar ways. We can, for the most part, assume that because creatine increases the absolute power endurance of the leg muscles and biceps, it will also increase the absolute power endurance of the forearms. If creatine increases the relative strength of the legs and biceps, under what reasonable conditions can we reject that it increases the relative strength of the forearms?

With sport-specific research, we may find that the assumptions made are not pertinent in climbing, but at this point all we have are assumptions on both sides of the equation. To me, the assumption that climbing will react similarly to creatine as other anaerobic weight-dependent sports seems more likely than climbing reacting differently.

So we wind up at a crossroads. Which assumptions do you base your beliefs upon? Is it better to avoid creatine because there is no climbing-specific research (null hypothesis: creatine will not significantly affect performance) or to take creatine because non-climbing-specific research supports its application in anaerobic sport in general (alternative hypothesis: creatine will significantly affect performance). Either way, our decision is not based upon climbing-specific research, but at least on the 'pro' side there is research in general.


bcrigby


Mar 2, 2013, 8:12 PM
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Re: [bcrigby] Creatine? [In reply to]
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I wasn't satisfied with unreferenced suppositions. Here's a couple of articles that directly deal with creatine in forearm strength and endurance:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10362451 (you can Google to find entire article, link was too long)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2276184/

In the first article, maximal isometric contraction strength was NOT improved in the forearm, but endurance during submaximal forearm contraction was significantly improved (p < .01 for the 1st trial, p < .05 for the 2nd and 3rd). A limitation of the study was it's short duration--only five days. This length of time was sufficient to demonstrate the acute effects of creatine (improved ATP resynthesis rates in submaximal exercise) but insufficient to demonstrate positive long-term effects, such as muscular hypertrophy which could increase strength significantly above a placebo.

In the second article, creatine pyruvate significantly enhanced contractile force (p < .001) and relaxation velocity (p < .01) in the forearms, which "is accompanied by enhanced oxygen consumption and blood flow." Mean power was also significantly improved in the creatine pyruvate group (p < .001).

Both articles deal with absolutes, not relatives, and that is a limitation. However, the second article in particular has implications for climbing as relaxation velocity enhances blood flow and re-oxygenation. As another paper stated, "The superior intermittent finger flexor endurance of climbers over non-climbers may be explained by the faster re-oxygenation of the finger flexor muscles during the short rest phases." Enhanced blood flow also allows for better buffering of H+ ions, reducing muscle burn.

Final article mentioned: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22131087 (abstract only, sorry)

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