Strength training is characterized by heavy loads to the central nervous system when training with high intensity (1-5 repetitions over 80% of the maximum overload allowed).
The specific loading of the nervous system requires supplements for powerlifting that can have benefits for the pre-workout intake period or for the restoration period.
While substances such as proteins, essential amino acids, and others also help for the restoration of the body, certain additives play a special role directly on the effectiveness of high-intensity workouts.
Powerlifting is a sport that involves three main lifts, the deadlift, squat and the bench press. The person who has the highest total weight across those three lifts is considered the winner, in competitions.
Many people do powerlifting to set their records for those lifts, but powerlifting is completely different than the sport of bodybuilding. However, both do share a few similarities.
If you’re brand new to powerlifting or you are a veteran, then you’ll want to keep an eye on your diet and nutrition because it can be very exhilarating due to the hard work involved.
Not only that, but you have to remain the focus, dedicated and you need to put in the time. First, you need to figure out what kind of diet you’ll follow. After you know what diet to follow, you need to make sure you do all of the lifts properly because you don’t want to minimize your risk of injury.
Finally, you should consider using supplements. Supplements are an excellent way to get results fast. Both powerlifters and weightlifters know that supplements are great to take because they can reach their goals fast.
There are a lot of different supplements you can take, and this article will explain some of the best ones. With that said, continue to read on to learn more.
Powerlifting Supplements: How They Help Powerlifters
Supplements offer many benefits to powerlifters, and this goes for powerlifters who are doing it as a hobby or competing on a professional level. Each supplement is unique in their way, and some people stack products, which helps them get results even fast.
There are some benefits you can achieve with good powerlifting supplements. These benefits include improving athletic performance and endurance, as well as gaining strength.
Other benefits include reducing muscle soreness, improved recovery and reduced risk of injury. Better overall health, improved nutrient uptake, improved immune health, and increased muscle growth are other benefits.
Why Powerlifters Should Take Supplements
Powerlifting requires a lot of hard work, hours and dedication and you have to get to the gym on a regular basis. Let’s not forget to mention that you need to keep track of your diet.
Supplements make things easier by giving you an edge on the competition, but there are various other reasons to take supplements.
These reasons include:
- They need nutrients – when you put your body under strain by lifting the heavyweight on a regular basis, then you will crave various nutrients, especially protein, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. A healthy diet can help you get those nutrients, but adding a supplement to your routine can help too. For example, powerlifters should consume quite a bit of protein on a regular basis, and they can get their daily dosage of protein with food and a protein supplement.
- Powerlifting hurts – sure, it feels great reaching your goals, but the chances are you’ll feel extremely sore in the morning, and this doesn’t feel great at all. Muscle soreness is experienced by many powerlifters. This is why they should take whey protein, BCAAs, and glutamine supplements. Such supplements can reduce muscle soreness.
- Powerlifters are prone to injury – powerlifters are prone to injury. They are at a higher risk of injury than the average person, as well as many other types of athletes. Certain vitamins and multivitamins can reduce the possibility of injury, and so can other types of supplements. It’s a good idea to take vitamins that support the joints, but make sure you take them regularly.
If you’re a powerlifter, then make sure you get your hands on the right supplements. The same goes if you are brand new to powerlifting.
You will be surprised at how well the best supplements work and how fast they can help you get results and reach your goals.
All you have to do now is determine what your powerlifting goals are and then you can start shopping around for powerlifting supplements that can help you reach those goals, and then you’ll be a step closer to achieving them.
Powerlifting Supplements Designed for Power Output
Creatine is described as a type of organic acid which can be found inside the body naturally. This acid is stored mainly in the muscle tissues which plays a vital role in how the muscles function.
You can also find creatine in some food sources. However, it is mainly found in fish and meat. Creatine happens to be a favorite type of fitness supplement and only exceeded by the protein powders in popularity.
How Can Creatine Assist Powerlifters
Creatine happens to be one of the favorites in the fitness communities in regard to its numerous useful benefits. Mainly, this supplement is used by the weightlifters as it assists with muscle gain.
This natural based supplement can help you greatly in reaching those training goals, here are some of the benefits you can attain from using creatine:
- Improves your muscle pump;
- Improvements in muscle endurance;
- Temporarily boosts strength;
- Helps with the production of ATP;
- Helps to increase “short burst” energy;
- Can assist with enhancing your post-workout recovery;
- Helps to maximize protein synthesis;
- Increases the process of nutrient transport in the muscles;
- Assists in building more muscle;
- Assists you in reaching goals a lot faster.
In essence, creatine can enhance the natural abilities of the body to participate in high-intensity and short-term exercises.
The individuals who use this type of supplement for the first time usually report on the immediate increase in endurance and strength that is attributed to the role of creatine in implementation and production.
This may seem like an empty promise, but when you think about that creatine is present already naturally in muscles, and the majority of the creatine we gain is simulated through the food we eat and then stored and later used by the muscles.
This natural supplement is used naturally by the muscles to assist you in creating as well as using energy. When used in a supplement form, it increases the naturally stored creatine as well as replenishes the stores which are lost naturally during exercise.
How to Use Creatine
Creatine happens to be one of the top-rated powerlifting supplements which should be taken on a daily basis.
- On the days that you do not work out, you should still be taking the correct dosage of creatine.
- The usual serving size is set at 5 grams, and it usually is available in flavorless powders. However, there are a variety of flavored versions that you can choose from.
- To use this supplement, mix the powder into a liquid such as juice or water and make sure that you also drink enough water with this dose.
- Many fitness experts choose to cycle off and on creatine, by taking the supplement for two months and then taking breaks for two weeks at a time. However, this is down to personal choice but is a recommendation from some fitness experts.
Caffeine is described as a type of natural stimulant which is found in coffee beans. Nervous system stimulants such as caffeine can have an impact on heavy strength training.
Although many studies have shown negative results on the strength with the intake of caffeine, others have shown the opposite.
As a whole, people should take into account factors such as the person’s prevailing muscle fibers, the tolerance to the stimulant and the motivation for training.
The impact on concentration is especially important. This is an important factor in strength training.
Why You Should Choose Caffeine?
Caffeine is a reliable supplement that can increase performance levels in the athletes who have not yet developed tolerances. The use of this supplement has a number of positive effects such as endurance, fat loss as well as a peak power output.
How to Use Caffeine with the Right Dosage
The most important factor is the dose.
- Doses up to 200 mg do not indicate a significant impact on the power, rather only on the motivation.
- Doses of 300 mg or more may note significant differences in power and strength endurance.
- To enhance strength, use 5 mg per kg or 2.5 mg per lbs. This supplement can be taken in liquid, powder or pill form.
- Because tolerance eventually develops, caffeine should be utilized as a type of ergogenic acid, rather than take one month off as soon as you no longer experience the effects after consuming caffeine.
When to Use Caffeine
You will need to experiment with this supplement. But it is advisable to use caffeine around 30 minutes within the first part of your workout.
There are different genetic variations involved with abilities in metabolizing caffeine. This means that the doses will affect each person differently. To prevent unwanted side effects, it is advisable, to begin with, smaller doses and gradually increase the dose when necessary.
Certain individuals, who already have sleep problems, should not be using caffeine supplements. Caffeine can assist you in staying awake and alert, and in the non-habitual users, it can offer a definite increase in regards to power output.
This supplement cannot be used on a regular basis as the power output increase will be lost.
3) Acetylcholine Neurotransmitters
Sources of the acetylcholine neurotransmitter can also benefit the body in cases of heavy workouts. Acetylcholine has functions both on the central nervous and on the peripheral system.
In the peripheral nervous system, acetylcholine activates muscles, as many receptors are found in skeletal muscle.
- Choline bitartrate, dimethylethanolamine (DMAE) and L-alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine (Alpha-GPC) are potent precursors of acetylcholine.
- Alpha-GPC is not only a powerful source of acetylcholine but it also successfully increases the growth hormone in adults and young athletes.
- Another important element of acetylcholine is the acetyl-L-carnitine amino acid which also has positive effects on the mental state.
In addition, sources of choline are important for the muscle function; they help the brain function, improve concentration and mental attitude.
One of the best supplements for powerlifting and as an alternative to the classic stimulants are the nootropics that play the role of brain stimulators and affect the nervous system. L-Tyrosine, or its alternative forms N-acetyl and L-tyrosine are precursors of the dopamine neurotransmitter.
Besides the effect on the mood, tyrosine also affects brain function and concentration. Its action is especially effective under high stress.
In high-intensity workouts, tyrosine would precisely benefit the cognition functions, the mental attitude, and concentration, which are important for the load on the central nervous system. In order for tyrosine to be optimally effective, doses of at least 2000 mg before a workout are needed.
Powerlifting Supplements for Work Volume
1) What Is Beta-Alanine
A version of alanine that has been modified is called beta-alanine, alanine is an amino acid that is very common. Beta-alanine is quite commonly used in the world of fitness, mainly due to the way it helps to increase muscular endurance.
Beta-alanine is in fact so efficient with increasing endurance that it is one of the main ingredients found in most supplement blends for pre-workouts.
How Beta-Alanine Can Help Powerlifters
Beta-alanine is well-known for its ability to improve strength and athletic performance, extend endurance, and so much more.
Here are a few of the main benefits of beta-alanine which are relevant for powerlifters:
- Improves muscular strength;
- Increases energy levels;
- Helps to grow muscle mass;
- Increases carnosine levels;
- Improves muscular endurance;
- Increases “short burst” energy;
- Helps you reach your goals faster;
Beta-alanine is an excellent supplement for all kinds of athletes, but in particular, it is one of the best supplements for powerlifters. When performing exercises that are short term and high-intensity, beta-alanine helps to increase the body’s resistance.
In other words, it helps you to wallop those lifts breathing through any plateaus which may be being experienced. Due to the way in which beta-alanine works, it is a powerlifting supplement that is very effective, but it would not necessarily help much as far as endurance for athletes such as runners are concerned.
How Beta-Alanine Is Taken
You can find beta-alanine in the form of a pill or capsule, but most often it comes in the form of a powder which has to mix with water.
- The dose range is between 2-5 grams, typically, however, it is suggested by research that this amount is better if split throughout the day over 2+ doses.
- The goal here is to raise the natural beta-alanine levels in the body and keep them elevated.
A common misconception is that you must take beta-alanine needy before working out. Although there may not be anything wrong with that, as long as every day that you are planning on working out you take your dose, it is not necessary.
2) Nitric Oxide Boosters (Agmatine and Citrulline)
- In concept, nitric oxide boosters are great as they can increase efficiency and work capacity of cells while promoting blood flow, a positive side effect of this being erections. That being said, l-arginine was the first choice for nitric oxide boosting, this was accompanied by a load of issues and spend the topic´s enthusiasm a bit.
- In itself, nitric acid is critical in the body, and for most nitric-oxide boosters there is evidence. Unfortunately, however, the initial bout of nitric oxide supplement, which all happened to be based on arginine, appear as if their benefits are quite unreliable.
- It seems as if supplemental nitrates and beetroot are more reliable, and agmatine is meant to be studied so as to confirm the benefits or lack thereof associated with its use. The research, however, is still in its “preliminary and promising” stage.
- For a nitric oxide booster to work, it must be able to accelerate this enzyme, and it seems as if this is done by arginine very weakly as it acts on the alpha-adrenergic receptors. However, agmatine does this better and may also have a painkilling effect, but being as no studies in athletes have been conducted, at this point it is merely an honorable mention.
- Nitrate ingestion is the other possible option, form with beetroot or leafy green veggies. To put it simply, this increases the levels of nitric oxide by a means that is completely different, one that does not involve the enzymes mentioned above and in most studies conducted in anaerobic and aerobic study populations, is proven.
- Although the common choice is L-arginine, on a per-dosage basis, L-citrulline works better. When it comes to nitric oxide, beetroots are a great food source, and a lot of potentials are held by agmatine.
Taurine is an amino acid that has potential benefits for strength training. Taurine can be an effective pre-workout agent that can affect the nervous system, mental mood, and muscle strength.
That makes taurine a popular ingredient in many energy drinks, but whose doses are quite too low for any significant action to be noted.
The taurine intake is associated with the function of the nervous system and its recovery, especially after the effects of high-intensity workouts and their impact on the system.
Powerlifting Supplements for Faster Recovery
1) Branched-Chained Amino Acids (BCAAs)
For powerlifters wanting to improve their performance at the gym, BCAAs are among the best supplements. They not only BCAAs help to improve performance at the gym but they also help reduce the recovery time needed after working out.
There are a large number of benefits powerlifters will gain by using BCAAs.
- Increases endurance while working out;
- Improves protein synthesis;
- Significantly delays muscle fatigue;
- Significantly aids recovery;
- Reduces the amount of time needed for recovery;
- It enhances muscle mass;
- Aids in the repair of muscles and helps reduce the chance of muscle damage;
- Enhances your overall workout results.
Everyone within the fitness community is well aware of the benefits of BCAAs for powerlifters. There are already millions of people that use these supplements as a way to improve their total results and efforts while at the gym.
BCAA supplements work in a unique way that makes them highly useful for different aspects of powerlifting. You can take them just before a workout, and this will allow you to work out much longer.
If you take them after an intense workout, they will aid the body in recovering faster. While most other powerlifting supplements are for one or the other, BCAAs do a great job for both.
The Pros and Cons of Taking BCAAs
Most commonly this supplement comes in a powder. The powder can be flavored or unflavored. It will need to be mixed with some liquid and most, simply use water.
These supplements can also be purchased in capsule form, but most prefer the powder. Usually, you will take between two and six grams of the supplement, and you can take it more than once a day if you like.
It’s important to note that to benefit the most from BCAAs you must take them either just before or soon after your workouts. It’s not at all uncommon for some to do all three, by splitting their dose and taking two or three servings around their gym workout.
The main thing to be aware of is that it’s a waste if you take them hours before or hours after because it just won’t provide the benefits.
2) Whey Protein
Taking this type of protein powder as a supplement has very significant benefits. Simply put, this is protein. When making dairy products such as cheese and others, it produces the byproduct whey, and it is incredibly rich in protein.
Initially, it is liquid, but manufacturers make it dry and then package it for sale. Once made this beige or white powder contains 70 to 90% protein.
Those with a good understanding of nutrition and its effect on the body can easily understand why a product that is easy to consume and affordable and that has high-quality protein would make a list as one of the best powerlifting supplements.
How Does Whey Protein Help Powerlifters?
Protein is found in every cell of the body. It is needed both to build and to repair muscles and help heal any tissue that has been damaged. Protein helps skin, hair, and nails as well as aids the body in the production of hormones.
Everyone needs a fair amount of protein each day, but powerlifters and athletes need more than most. Consider these facts about why athletes use this supplement more than any other.
- Aids the body in repairing muscle tissue;
- Reduces the amount of recovery time needed;
- Lessens the amount of soreness experienced after workouts;
- Increases the body’s ability to build more muscle;
- An easy way to consume more high-quality protein;
- It provides excellent amino acids;
- Whey is among the best types of protein;
- Increases the results during workouts;
In the world of powerlifting, most think of whey protein as a recovery supplement. The body can digest it in only about 20 or 30 minutes after taking it. This makes it ideal for weightlifters as muscles need the amino acids and protein immediately after working out to help begin the recovery process.
Drinking a shake just after a workout will help the muscles grow and recover and reduce the amount of soreness and pain experienced by the weightlifter. It’s also an easy way to increase your daily protein with an affordable and easy to consume the product.
How Should I Take Whey Protein?
As was mentioned above, it ideally should be taken immediately after workouts. Some powerlifters even make the shake and take it with them so that as soon as they are finished with the workout, they can immediately consume the protein shake.
You certainly don’t need to do that, but it is none the less best to drink the protein shake as soon as possible after the workout.
Determining the correct amount to take is easy as almost all manufacturers include a scoop in their product and it can be used to measure exactly what you should take.
Commonly, the serving size should be between 15 and 25 grams. You can mix this shake with juice, milk, or water and just mix it and drink. This is a quick and easy way to get more protein into your diet.
Understand that this protein is not necessarily better than others, it’s just an affordable, easy way to consume enough each day. Some believe that because this type of protein is more quickly digested it is good for recovery, but it is not known for sure if that is relevant.
Joint Support and Repair Supplements for Powerlifters
Joint support supplements are specially formulated multivitamins that work to improve joint health. These products have a blend of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. The commonly used ingredients include calcium, MSM, zinc, glucosamine, chondroitin, and others.
How Can Joint Support Supplements Help Powerlifters?
Powerlifting is an enjoyable and healthy activity. However, it can lead to long-term health concerns. The biggest concerns are over joint issues.
The longer you lift heavier weights, the more there is a chance that you are wearing down your cartilage and causing damage to your joints. Powerlifting also increases the risk of various injuries.
With joint support vitamins, you get benefits such as:
- Protecting joint cartilage;
- Lubricating joints;
- Reducing the risk of pain;
- Reducing the risk of injury;
- Protecting the joints from damage;
- Allowing you to keep exercising as you get older.
Typically, when you think of powerlifting vitamins, you are thinking of things that will help when you are working out in the gym. You are also thinking of something that will give you improved recovery afterward.
Joint support vitamins fall into different categories. Powerlifters will take joint support multivitamins to protect their long-term health regarding their joints. It is important for athletes to also keep their joint health in mind.
When You Should Take Joint Support Supplements
You want to take joint support vitamins every day. It doesn’t matter what fitness activities you have scheduled for that day. It is best to take them with a meal.
Besides this, you just want to follow the instructions that are found on the product package. Here is more about ingredients in these joint support supplements.
1) Fish Oil
There is a claim that fish oil for athletes is often used to reduce joint pain as well as inflammation. It also allows for faster physical recovery.
It is commonly followed up by studies that show that NSAID pain relievers, which is another choice for reducing soreness, will hinder muscle growth in young people.
Fish oil theoretically increases glucose uptake and will enhance leucine which signals the muscle tissue to grow. The reality is that joint health, as well as inflammation issues, is dose-dependent and fish oil will reduce soreness and inflammation.
It appears that this is secondary and fish oil has a slight immunosuppressive effect.No evidence supports it is a muscle builder. People who do not take fish oil have what is known to be an enhanced leucine signaling, which is a muscle protein synthesis from the amino acids in the body.
They also have an increased glucose uptake in the muscle cells. There are no current reports that assess how muscle growth develops, but they do measure the fractional synthesis rates over a period of a few hours.
While it cannot be proven that fish oil builds muscle, it would appear that it is possible that it can. The benefits seem to be from an Omega 3 to 6 ratio in a supplement.
These are the tried-and-true pain relievers for powerlifters, and they seemed to work wonders. There are supplements that while they cannot be technically called NSAIDS, inhibit enzyme activity and therefore can be considered useful.
Curcumin is an excellent example of a supplement that acts as an NSAID. It reduces joint pain and helps minimize the chance of ulcers from forming.
Pycnogenol substance is a maritime pine bark extract. It is thought to be the same thing as grape seed extract regarding how it is molecularly structured.
This supplement would get an honorable mention because it does not have any research to prove how it can help athletes but some studies are suggesting that a can stop the pain in those with osteoarthritis.
It can also have anti-inflammatory effects, which are similar to curcumin. There is a host of other benefits that are associated with this as it relates to circulatory health.
General Health Supplements for Powerlifters
There are a number of supplements that are highly advantageous to powerlifters. Use these suggestions to take your workouts to the next level.
1) Vitamin D and Vitamin K
- The lack of uncontrolled hemorrhaging and rickets in modern society is evidence that there is no general deficiency of these vitamins today.
- This doesn’t mean that people are getting optimal levels of them though. Vitamin K, for example, has an RDI of up to 120 mcg with 1000 mcg being the optimum intake. The RDI for Vitamin D is up to 800 IU with 2,000 to 4,000 IU being the recommended optimum level.
- There are very few foods that provide high quantities of these vitamins, such as kale for Vitamin K and cod liver oil for Vitamin D, so it’s very difficult to ingest these vitamins in high enough quantities through diet alone.
Both supplements are inexpensive and both promote calcium metabolism to improve cardiovascular and bone health. Vitamin D is also helpful for improving fertility and boosting testosterone production.
Vitamin K is beneficial for glucose metabolism and pancreatic health. They are inexpensive health-protecting compounds for which there is ample documentation supporting their use.
Unlike with Vitamin K and Vitamin D, it is entirely possible to ingest enough Magnesium as part of a typical diet, yet many people remain deficient in Magnesium.
Magnesium deficiency can lead to the development of neuronal damage, an increase in osteopenia, and increased blood pressure, though all of them will take decades to appear.
One of the first signs is unexplained cramping. Magnesium supplementation will prevent these conditions from occurring. It’s pretty simple. Research demonstrates that the benefits of super loading can be traced back to Magnesium-L-Threonate.
A German study, though the veracity of the claim is debatable, has found that magnesium orotate produces outstanding results for triathletes.
Although most of the evidence for it is preclinical, there is a wide-spread belief that spirulina is of particular benefit to athletes.
Once studies have been completed with athletes, the claim will have more veracity, but it at least deserves an honorable mention on this list.
The Benefits of Spirulina
- It appears to play a role in reducing liver fat buildup. There are large-scale trials currently underway to study this claim.
- It is claimed to provide a potent antioxidative effect through the prevention of a link developing with the immune system.
- Though the antioxidative effect is immunosuppressive, there is some evidence that spirulina circumvents itself to provide support to the immune system. This also needs more studies to support the claim before it can be used to promote spirulina.
- It has had at least one study confirming its efficacy as a mineral chelator in humans, one of the only supplements that are documented to support this detox property.
- Spirulina has been shown in research on animals to improve arthritis by reducing edema and inflammation.
- There is a possibility that it is more antiviral and hepatoprotective than milk thistle is.
- The potential that it increases muscular performance. The studies are inconsistent. In fact, one study in which resistance training was used failed to produce this effect. However, this may be because the effect is secondary to its antioxidant properties, which do improve anaerobic exercise.
- There has been one study that noted its ability to produce an increased power output in untrained and trained athletes. This claim does need further exploration with powerlifting exercises, however.
A very common mineral found in a high number of foods, multivitamins, supplements, and other health products, is zinc.
Zinc is known to support the performance of the immune system, which is why so many cold remedy products include this mineral in their formulation.
It also impacts the human body in a number of other ways, one of which is that it is particularly beneficial for powerlifters.
Zinc’s Impact on Powerlifting
Zinc is an essential mineral supporting countless processes in the body, so it can be difficult to identify all the ways that it is beneficial.
However, regarding how it benefits weightlifters, it:
- Increases testosterone levels;
- Promotes protein synthesis;
- Reduces recovery time;
- Encourages quicker healing;
- Supports immune function;
- Promotes overall health;
Insufficient levels of zinc in the body can negatively impact testosterone levels. People diagnosed with low testosterone should take zinc as a regular supplement to their diet.
Also, because zinc has been so closely linked to protein synthesis, it is undeniably beneficial for muscle growth, and evidence supports that it reduces recovery time following workouts. It’s quite common to be deficient in zinc, so supplementation is highly recommended.
You can’t overlook the impact that zinc has on the immune system either. Simply catching a common cold can put a stop to your workouts for as long as a week, or more. This presents a serious obstacle to achieving your goals. Zinc supplementation can help you to avoid becoming sick.
How to Take Zinc Supplements
It is simple enough to supplement zinc. Follow the product dosage recommendations on the packaging, and ingest it along with your food.
4) Multivitamins and Minerals
Among the most commonly taken supplements intended to help you meet your nutritional needs are multivitamins.Each multivitamin is packed full of minerals and vitamins to meet your body’s requirements.
They are designed as a supplement to your regular diet, and they provide significant benefits to your overall health and wellbeing.
How Multivitamins Benefit Weightlifters
Although they are not among the most popular powerlifting supplements, multivitamins are very beneficial. They won’t boost your overall performance or reduce recovery time as other supplements will, but they are a valuable supplement to include because of they:
- Improve nutrient absorption;
- Boost daily nutrition;
- Improve bone strength;
- Promote muscle health;
- Help avoid injuries;
- Prevent nutritional deficiencies from occurring;
- Improve sleep quality;
- Boost energy levels;
- Support overall health.
How to Use Multivitamins
It is best to take multivitamins once per day. They come in a convenient pill or capsule form, so it’s very easy to take them. Taking them with food will help to optimize the absorption of nutrients.
However, they should not be taken with calcium-rich foods like dairy, because calcium can prevent the digestion of various nutrients.
Following these supplementation recommendations will help you to get the most out of your workouts. Your performance might even be able to advance to the next level. Learn more about what natural bodybuilding is.