Skeletal muscle metabolism during short duration high-intensity exercise: influence of creatine supplementation


Karolinska Institute, Physiology III, Box 5626, 114 86 Stockholm, Sweden


Seven male subjects performed repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise, on a cycle ergometer, before and after 6 d of creatine supplementation (20 g Cr H2O day-1). The exercise protocol consisted of five 6-s exercise periods performed at a fixed exercise intensity, interspersed with 30-s recovery periods (Part I), followed (40 s later) by one 10 s exercise period (Part II) where the ability to maintain power output was evaluated. Muscle biopsies were taken from m. vastus lateralis at rest, and immediately after (i) the fifth 6 s exercise period in Part I and (ii) the 10 s exercise period in Part II. In addition, a series of counter movement (CMJ) and squat (SJ) jumps were performed before and after the administration period.

As a result of the creatine supplementation, total muscle creatine [creatine (Cr) + phosphocreatine (PCr)] concentration at rest increased from (mean + SEM) 128.7 (4.3) to 151.5 (5.5)mmolkg_1 dry wt (P < 0.05). This was accompanied by a 1.1 (0.5) kg increase in body mass (P < 0.05). After the fifth exercise bout in Part I of the exercise protocol, PCr concentration was higher [69.7 (2.3) vs. 45.6 (7.5) mmol kg“‘ dry wt, P < 0.05], and muscle lactate was lower [26.2 (5.5) vs. 44.3 (9.9) mmol kg”1 dry wt, P < 0.05] after vs. before supplementation. In Part II, after creatine supplementation, subjects were better able to maintain power output during the 10-s exercise period (P < 0.05). There was no change in jump performance as a result of the creatine supplementation (P > 0.05).

These findings show that enhanced fatigue resistance during short duration high-intensity exercise following creatine supplementation is associated with a greater availability of PCr and a lower accumulation of lactate in the muscle. The finding that jump performance was not enhanced suggests that short-term creatine feeding does not influence peak power output.