How To BOOST Strength & Power With Creatine
Written by Frank Rich on April 1, 2019
So here’s the deal. Whether you’ve been lifting weights for years or just getting started, you always hear about how supplementing with creatine will help you meet your strength and power goals. The discipline of “bro-science” swears by it, but so do some of your favorite athletes.

The tricky part about using creatine as a supplement is about knowing how it works and how it can work for you. Before you continue reading this article, be real with yourself.

If you’ve been working out for two weeks and are looking for a shortcut to beach season, you have some serious work to do before this is an option. Creatine isn’t designed to help you build a base. Its there to help you add on to the base you already have.

Also, if you plan on partying four nights a week and drinking until the sun comes up, this isn’t for you. While speculation of dehydration with creatine use has been exaggerated, there is some truth behind it and alcohol will only make it worse.

If you’re still with me, let’s get started with the basics.

Creatine is an amino acid that is already present in the body, both in muscles and the human brain. It is created in the liver, pancreas, and kidneys, although it can also be obtained through diet and supplementation(1).

I’ll spare you all of the chemistry details but essentially creatine is converted to phosphocreatine in the muscles. Phosphocreatine is then used for energy with muscle actions, especially concentric and eccentric contractions1.

This doesn’t mean that guzzling a whole jar of creatine monohydrate will allow you to lift for 12 hours or run the Boston Marathon, however. Our bodies have a number of energy systems, listed below:

1) The phosphagen system. This gives you quick energy for roughly 8-12 seconds(2).
2) The glycolytic system. This gives you longer bouts of energy for roughly 20 seconds(2).
3) The aerobic system. This gives you energy for as long as your lungs can effectively function without extensive muscle fatigue(2).

So what does this mean in terms of increasing strength and power?

It means when you’re using creatine to increase your performance, you have to know why you’re using it and how you should lift to take full advantage of its chemical properties. If you plan on consuming creatine during a volume phase in your training, you’ll see some benefits but they won’t be optimal.

As we know power and strength aren’t the same, here’s a breakdown of how each can benefit from creatine.


When completing a strength cycle, there are a number of meso-cycles that occur within the full cycle. While there are different models for this, meso-cycles usually take about 6 week with the last week being in the 1-3 rep range for the major compound lifts (bench, row, barbell press, etc..).

When in that 1-5 repetition range, one is usually taking anywhere between 4-12 seconds. This 4-12 second range lines up perfectly with the amount of seconds that phosphocreatine is being used as the main source of energy. Even if the lifts are as slow as a 1:3 eccentric to concentric ratio, you’re still in the right range.

Yes, you read that right. Consuming creatine during this phase of lifting will allow you to capitalize on your body’s energy system, recovering quicker between sets with more energy available for force production.

This additional force production will then translate into added strength gains, giving you a better return for your hard work and dedication throughout the cycle.


The beauty about using creatine for power athletes is that essentially all power movements occur within the time frame where phosphocreatine is being used as the primary source of energy. For the mathematicians out there, here is a reminder about what power really is:

Power = Force x Velocity

This translates into moving something heavy at a fast rate will result in a better power output.

Some of the best examples in sport are Olympic weightlifting, a 100m sprint, and so on. All of these are very quick movements that will be over within the right range, as long as they are done properly.

When using creatine during a peak in power training, your body is being supplied with additional energy and a better ability to recover between sets. Although this is similar to the benefits of creatine on strength gains, these power movements should be occurring very quickly. Opposed to a 1:3 ration, they should be more of a 1:1 ratio with no more than 1-3 reps performed.

This can all seem pretty technical and in reality it is, but the take away is this:

Creatine helps you most when you’re performing your major movements, whether they’re power lifts or box jumps, within sets that last 8-12 seconds.

This does NOT mean that you can’t use creatine outside of these periods. You will still experience better muscle energy and quicker recovery. However, we are talking about OPTIMAL gains in this article.

This also does not mean that have to perform all of your warm-up sets and accessory work in this time range. If you jump right into your major movements and big weight without warming-up and working up properly, you’ll almost certainly get injured.

Creatine is one of the most authentic ingredients in terms of producing real results. However, a common mistake is thinking that more is better. Ideally, taking as low as 2-5 grams during your build-up in a cycle while taking close to 20 during a peak strength or power phase will be the best for your health and performance.

When consuming creatine, be sure to increase your daily water intake as you are more susceptible to dehydration and cramping, even if only mildly(3).

Like anything else in the resistance training, if you are going to use creatine, make sure you do it the right way.  

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About Author:
Frank Rich

Frank Rich is an online fitness entrepreneur, fitness author, certified trainer & nutrition coach, and bodybuilder. He has close to 2 decades of training experience himself, and has helped thousands of men around the world build muscle, lose fat, and transform their lives. Frank has dedicated himself to helping 100,000 men build what he defines as a MASSTHETIC PHYSIQUE. 
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