BCAAs have two main benefits in relation to strength training: decreased DOMS / decreased muscle damage, and increased protein synthesis. Read on to learn more about each.
Reduced Muscle Damage
While DOMS does indicate that you’ve had a good workout and lifted more weight than your body is accustomed to, it can still be beneficial to minimize DOMS through supplementation. DOMS reduces the force production of your muscles for several says as well as the soreness. Therefore you will be unable to train at your full potential until your DOMS is fully healed. If you are training each muscle group 2 times per week for example, your DOMS may still be lingering on the second training day, limiting your force production. Supplementation can improve this.
BCAAs are an effective supplement for reducing DOMS when taken before and/or after exercise. In addition to the footnotes above, here is another study that shows untrained females who took BCAAs had reduced DOMS compared to those who didn’t. The exercise performed was high volume squats.
Increased Protein Synthesis
BCAAs help to promote protein synthesis, providing an anabolic effect to your muscles. It does this by sending a signal to your muscle tissue to begin protein synthesis after exercising.
When to Take BCAAs
It is best taken before and after exercising. Before exercising to minimize muscle damage, and after exercise to maximize protein synthesis. Powder form is my preferred form, so Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey is a good choice, including 24g protein, 5.5g BCAAs and 4g Glutamine per serving.
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- Wataru Aoi1, Yuji Naito and Toshikazu Yoshikawa. Exercise and functional foods [Go Up ↩] [Go Up ↩]