Research Roundup 6.9.23

By Anna Woodring, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach/Researcher


The first study examined the effects of creatine supplementation on memory. The results of eight meta-analyses indicated that taking creatine supplements resulted in improved memory, particularly in older adults.

The second study investigates if post exercise muscle soreness is a valid indicator for muscular adaptations. DOMS can indicate muscle damage, which is linked to muscle hypertrophy, justifying the pursuit of muscle damage during training. However, caution is needed due to the weak correlation between DOMS and Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage (EIMD), individual variability in DOMS response, and the potential negative impact of excessive soreness on recovery and training performance.

The third study investigated the effects of velocity-based training (VBT) compared to 1-RM percentage-based training. The findings indicated that no studies have demonstrated a performance difference between the two methods, as both showed similar improvements. VBT only has an advantage of providing real-time feedback and indicating the need for increased recovery.

Effects of creatine supplementation on memory in healthy individuals: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials is published in the journal of Nutrition Reviews. This study explores the impact of creatine supplementation on memory in healthy individuals. The brain relies on a significant amount of energy for its functions, and creatine plays a crucial role in energy production. By increasing brain creatine levels, supplementation can enhance energy production. Previous evidence suggests that higher creatine levels in the brain can potentially improve memory by influencing brain energy metabolism. The researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis, examining eight randomized controlled trials that investigated the effects of creatine supplementation compared to placebos, while undergoing a series of cognition and memory tests. 

Results showed that taking creatine supplements led to improved memory performance compared to taking a placebo. These benefits were more significant in older adults. Brain creatine levels tend to decrease with age. Therefore, individuals with lower levels of creatine in the brain may respond better to creatine supplementation, similar to what has been observed in muscle. When the analysis was broken down by age groups, the positive effect of creatine supplementation on memory was more pronounced in older adults (66-76 years) compared to younger individuals (11-31 years).

While creatine supplementation is well-known for its positive impact on muscle mass, recent research has explored its potential effects on memory. Personally, I am currently recommending creatine to my mother, who is dealing with memory-related issues. As Creatine Monohydrate has shown no negative side effects, I want to utilize any available means to help her. However, further research is needed to fully understand the extent of creatine’s influence on memory. In addition to its established benefits for muscle growth and maintenance, creatine supplementation holds promise for potentially alleviating age-related memory decline.

Is Postexercise Muscle Soreness a Valid Indicator of Muscular Adaptations? Published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) commonly occurs after intense or unfamiliar physical activity. Many individuals consider DOMS to be an indicator of effective training and even rely on it as a primary measure. It has long been believed that DOMS is necessary for muscle remodeling. DOMS involve inflammation and microscopic tears in connective tissues that sensitize pain receptors. Lengthening actions, such as eccentric training, tend to induce more severe soreness. Typically, soreness becomes noticeable around 6-8 hours after intense exercise and peaks at approximately 48 hours. However, the duration and intensity of DOMS can vary significantly depending on factors such as exercise intensity, training status, and individual genetics.

The use of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) as a measure of workout quality has both pros and cons for strength coaches. DOMS can be an indicator of muscle damage, which is believed to play a role in muscle hypertrophy. Therefore, seeking muscle damage during training sessions may be justified for maximizing hypertrophic adaptations. However, caution is necessary because the correlation between DOMS and the extent of Exercise-Induced Muscle Damage (EIMD) is poor, and certain individuals may be more prone to DOMS than others due to genetic factors. Excessive soreness can be detrimental, indicating that the muscle’s repair capacity has been exceeded, impeding optimal training and reducing motivation.

This article provides insights into the perception of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) as an indicator of effective workouts for muscle hypertrophy. Athletes often associate soreness with the quality of their training sessions, viewing it as a measure of effectiveness. Personally, I have also fallen into this mindset, sometimes believing that lack of soreness indicates insufficient effort or an inadequate training program. However, this misconception has led to instances where I neglected recovery and experienced a decline in performance. While DOMS can offer valuable information, it should not be the sole factor determining training outcomes.

Effects of velocity based training vs. traditional 1RM percentage-based training on improving strength, jump, linear sprint and change of direction speed performance: A Systematic review with meta-analysis is published in Plos One, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The study compares the effectiveness of velocity-based training (VBT) and traditional 1RM percentage-based methods in enhancing physical performance. VBT utilizes barbell velocity to prescribe training load, offering advantages such as real-time intensity regulation and personalized feedback. The study includes eligible research articles that implemented both VBT and percentage-based training (PBT) interventions, lasting at least 4 weeks with a minimum of 2 training sessions per week. Participants were healthy individuals aged 16 years or older, and measures of strength, jump, linear sprint, or change of direction speed were assessed before and after the interventions. 

The results showed that both VBT and PBT were effective, with little difference between them. Both VBT and PBT were effective for improving strength, jump, linear sprint, and CODs performance. Although no difference in performance, VBT had lower volume and training stress compared to PBT. 

There have been no studies conducted that demonstrate VBT outperforming traditional PBT in improving strength, jump, linear sprint, or COD. VBT is primarily used as a tool to monitor recovery and provide real-time feedback to coaches and athletes. The only reason VBT could be useful is for organizations that need to manage athletes in a time-constrained training environment. VBT allows athletes to adjust the training load if they fail to meet the required speed at a specific percentage-based weight due to stress or fatigue. In this fast-paced environment with a high athlete-to-coach ratio, athletes receive cues on when to increase or decrease the load, making VBT an additional coach in this regard.