This week’s pro article is brought to by semi-pro rugby player Ollie Claxton
Lifting weights is a curious activity: you pick up a heavy object and then put it down again. If an observer from a gym-free planet were to witness the countless people around the world performing this repetitive and seemingly pointless task, they may well think: what’s the point?
Forget all the smoke and mirrors surrounding lifting weights related to aesthetics – muscle mass, bodybuilding and fat burning – as an activity, its fundamental purpose is to build strength.
Gone are the days when Popeye necking a can of spinach would help him to gain the super-strength needed to save the day. Now, building strength can be accelerated with scientifically-developed supplements to boost performance and recovery. Here are the five key supplements needed to maximise your strength:
Developing strength is a process, and every stage of the process needs to be fully completed before the process can start again and progress can be made. Recovery is a key stage in this process. Every time you finish in the gym, you have pushed your muscles to the extent where they have gone beyond their regular capacity: in essence, you have pushed them beyond breaking point. Now, unless you recover well and rebuild the muscle, they will revert back to where they were before the weights session. By taking whey protein, you are able to increase your strength threshold, so that next time you lift weights, your regular capacity will be improved, and your overall strength will be greater.
Whey protein is a fundamental, essential tool for recovery. Without it, you will find it difficult to keep pushing your limits session on session, and your strength will be unlikely to increase at the rate that you’re hoping for.
Creatine is a supplement that many people have heard mentioned, but that you may not know very much about – only that you know a few absolutely huge blokes that take it breakfast, noon and night!
Creatine is an important supplement for strength because it increases your body’s capacity for high intensity work by building muscle. This means that taking creatine after specific types of weight training will build your muscles perfectly for the set of exercises that you’re doing. So if you’re chasing that one rep max, creatine will help you to get there faster by building the muscle fibres needed for that specific lift.
Caffeine is the most commonly taken stimulant in the world. From early morning commuters to top athletes, caffeine’s effects help people to wake up, focus and keep on going when a mental and physical boost is needed.
When put in the context of a workout, caffeine can help to push your body to its limits, because it provides the fast, explosive energy that you need to lift the heaviest possible weights. You’re able to reach your one rep max, and increase this maximum strength threshold session after session.
Branched Chain Amino Acids
BCAAs are the building blocks of protein synthesis, and are therefore vital for rebuilding muscle, dealing with post-workout fatigue and preventing muscle wastage. Athletes or gym-goers that are training regularly and intensely need these essential building blocks to maintain the timber on their frame from session to session.
You can imagine BCAAs as a physio on a football team: when a player gets injured, they run on, patch the player up and help them where possible to continue with the match. The players are like your muscles, and may need small but essential treatment from BCAAs to keep them performing.
Citrulline Malate is a powerful pre-workout that boosts performance in the gym by positively affecting key biological processes in the body.
By reducing lactic acid and ammonia build-up, Citrulline Malate helps the body to avoid toxic and fatiguing substances building up in the body and inhibiting performance. It also promotes the production of Nitric Oxide, which increases blood flow, oxygen uptake and nutrient supply to your muscles. This lets them work at maximum capacity, meaning that you can push the limits of your strength every session.
You can use our handy protein comparison feature to find the ideal supplements for then just click on the link and you can buy them direct from the official suppliers.