SHORT REVIEW: THE ROLE OF CREATINE IN COMBAT SPORTS

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BACKGROUND 

Creatine is one of the most well-researched and commonly used athletic ergogenic aids. It is known to positively benefit singular and repeated high intensity bouts of exercise, muscular endurance, and hypertrophic and strength adaptations to resistance exercise. 

METHODS

The authors of this study primarily applied findings of creatine research in related topics  to discuss potential application to mixed martial arts

FINDINGS

The primary findings of the authors were:

  • The small number of laboratory studies on combat sports athletes failed to demonstrate a significant effect. However, given the large body of evidence demonstrating benefits of creatine in repeated bout sports, it is likely that further research into the specific effects of creatine supplementation in combat athletes is required.
  • The increase is osmolarity following chronic creatine consumption on average leads to a 1.2kg weight gain. One potential strategy is to measure the pre-loading and post-loading body mass of the athlete, consider this a potential amount of weight that may be lost pre-fight, and as the athlete approaches competition, creatine dosage may be titrated to aid in decreasing body mass prior to weigh-in. 
  • Creatine has been shown to aid in replenishing glycogen stores following intense exercise. This is of particular relevance to combat sports athletes, as the weight-cutting process results in glycogen depletion, and one of the primary goals post-weight cut is to replenish glycogen.
  • Creatine has been shown to increase cognitive function under conditions of stress, which may be of relevance for match conditions
  • Brain creatine levels may be reduced following repetitive head trauma and creatine supplementation has been shown to increase brain recovery in rodent studie. Therefore, there may be some utility in chronic creatine supplementation in optimising long-term brain health in those athletes acquiring repeated head trauma, as well as acute supplementation to enhance recovery from acute traumatic brain injury 

 

About the author

Sam Gilbert

Sam Gilbert is a registered physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from Latrobe university (Melbourne, Australia) and a master’s degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning) from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia).

A 3rd Dan black belt in Shinkyokushinkai Karate under the World Karate Organisation (WKO), Sam participated for over 20 years in full contact competition, winning multiple state and national titles, and culminating in a 4th place in the heavyweight division of the Shinkyokushinkai World Cup in 2009.

As the co-founder and clinical director of Club 360, the premier multi-disciplinary health and fitness center in Tokyo, Japan, Sam has combined his practical experience with an in-depth study of sports performance in relation to combat sports, and strives to help other combat athletes reach their full competitive potential, whilst at the same time decreasing injury risk and increasing competition and training potential.

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