Creatine for Swimmers: What You Need to Know

Michael Butler
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Creatine for Swimmers: The Research

Creatine can increase muscle capacity in people who are not athletes, and it is currently being investigated as a potential treatment for people with certain disorders.

Only a few studies have been done on the effects of creatine for swimmers, and they are inconclusive (although one study did find that those who took creatine increased their bench press by an average of 12.2%!). If you want to give it a shot, it won’t hurt you or cause any significant side effects. However, many elite swimmers have sworn by creatine while others have no interest in it.

Anthony Ervin, in his book, Swim Speed Secrets, has said that he has taken creatine supplements and “creatine and swimmers go together like peanut butter and jelly.”

Anthony Ervin is no longer currently using creatine. Check out the top 10 Anthony Ervin facts pertaining to his swimming career.

Perhaps the biggest reason that you should consider using creatine as a swimmer is that it is allegedly good for short-distance swimming (but take this with a grain of salt). Many of the swimmers that have used creatine swear that it improved their short-distance performance and allowed them to do more intense training.

The 3 Key Things You Need to Know About Creatine

A lot of swimmers have been asking about “creatine for swimmers” lately. Everyone wants to push their performance to new heights. The question is, do the supplements really work? To understand whether or not you need to be taking creatine as a swimmer, you need to understand how it works and what it does.

Creatine is a Performance Enhancer

Most people know creatine as a supplement used by bodybuilders and weight lifters to bulk up. It’s actually a natural substance that is a key component of your body’s cells. The reason that you can supplement creatine is because your liver also creates it from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine.

Through a process called methylation, your liver synthesizes creatine so that it can be used for energy in your muscles as well as in your brain.

The first scientifically observed effect of supplementing with creatine was by an American athletic trainer and nutritionist named Dr. Donald Kreider. In 1985, he was looking at ways to help athletes improve their vertical jumps.

The Takeaway

More and more studies and anecdotal reports from swimmers and triathletes are touting the benefits of creatine. Once only available as an expensive prescription, today creatine is one of the most popular and available vitamins on the market, with easily obtainable products for swimmers and triathletes that can help keep you moving down the pool or out on the bike.

Studies show that creatine improves muscle mass, energy, strength and sprint performance and can be safely used by healthy athletes when taken in recommended dosages. While intense gym workout are excellent supplements to your training program, they are intense, strength-building workouts that require a good deal of recovery time. For those looking for improvements in performance outside of the gym, creatine is the perfect supplement for swimmers. It helps you build stronger muscles, improving endurance in the water, and short, explosive performance out of the water like hand-eye coordination and agility.