Bodybuilders manage twenty percent more reps with beetroot juice
Beetroot juice is not only a good supplement for endurance athletes. Bodybuilders and other strength athletes can train more intensively by adding beetroot juice to their daily diet, researchers at Edge Hill University in England discovered.
Beetroot juice is a natural source of inorganic nitrate, and nitrate functions as a precursor of nitrogen monoxide in the body. Nitrogen monoxide widens the blood vessels and it boosts the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles.
There are indications that nitrogen monoxide plays a role in muscle growth too – and so manufacturers of bodybuilding supplements have started to market a wide range of products that are supposed to boost the concentration of nitrogen monoxide in the blood. You'll find an overview of our posts on nitrogen monoxide and supplementation here.
The researchers got twelve male students, all of whom had been doing strength training for a long time, to drink a bottle of Beet It SPORT Shot every day for six days. Beet It SPORT Shot is a product made by James White [jameswhite.co.uk] and contains 70 ml concentrated beetroot juice and 400 mg nitrate. James White did not finance the study.
On another occasion the students drank a berry juice – without nitrates.
Before and after each supplementation period the subjects had to do three sets of bench presses to failure, using 60 percent of the weight with which they could just manage 1 rep. The students rested for two minutes between sets.
The beetroot juice concentrate boosted the total number of reps the subjects could do by twenty percent.
"Coaches and their athletes alike, could make use of nitrate supplementation since our evidence suggests it, can be used within healthy male resistance trained population to increase exercise tolerance and improve performance", the researchers wrote.
"Further studies are necessary to investigate long term use and possible adaptations to resistance training with longer periods of dosing with nitrate."
J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Apr 2. [Epub ahead of print].
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Nutrition & Strength Training
Nitric Oxide [NO]