Numerous studies have investigated the effects of short-term creatine supplementation on exercise performance. The majority of initial studies suggested that creatine supplementation can significantly improve strength, power, sprint performance, and work performed during maximal muscle contractions. Recent studies have supported these findings, showing that creatine supplementation can increase work performed during various exercises. It has been observed that creatine supplementation improves performance in both controlled laboratory settings and field activities.
Some critics have questioned whether the performance gains observed in laboratory settings translate to improved athletic performance on the field. However, studies evaluating the effects of creatine supplementation on field performance have generally indicated that it can enhance high-intensity, short-duration performance in different athletic tasks. For example, creatine supplementation has been found to decrease sprint times and improve repeated sprint performance and jumping ability in athletes.
There is evidence to suggest that creatine supplementation may also benefit prolonged exercise bouts involving both anaerobic and aerobic energy systems. Studies have shown improvements in cumulative run time, work rate, submaximal heart rate, oxygen uptake, and time to exhaustion during maximal exercise tests.
However, not all recent studies have found significant enhancements in exercise performance with creatine supplementation. Some studies reported no effects on sprint times, muscle performance, fatigue, or recovery. These discrepancies could be attributed to factors such as small sample sizes, low statistical power, and inadequate experimental controls.
Overall, the available literature suggests that short-term creatine supplementation increases muscle creatine content and enhances the potential for high-intensity exercise. Approximately 70-85% of studies report some ergogenic benefits, especially in well-designed laboratory tests. The percentage of studies reporting positive effects of creatine supplementation has been increasing in recent years. Benefits have been observed in various populations, including untrained individuals, athletes, and different age groups.
It is important to note that no study has reported a negative effect of creatine supplementation on performance. Studies with no significant benefits often show small non-significant improvements. The preponderance of evidence supports the view that short-term creatine supplementation improves performance in laboratory and on-field exercise tasks.