Sports Biomechanics

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Athletes throughout the world are always seeking to build muscle, enhance energy, improve physical performance and have an overall edge on fellow athletes (Wolinsky, I et al, 2004, Slater,G et al, 2000). Ergogenic aids can include nutritional aids. It also include pharamcological aids, physiological aids and psychological aids (Ferrando et al, 1993). Ergogenic aids can be split into synthetic and natural aids. Synthetic is where the aid cannot be produced via the body, such as anabolic steroids, where as natural can be created in the body, such as creatine and blood. The three ergogenic aids being discussed are blood doping, anabolic steroids and creatine supplementation.

Creatine was discovered in 1835 with the first creatine supplementation study coming in the 1900’s on animals and humans (Mendel 1911, Jose, et al. 2002). There is a wide range of atheletes that use creatine as a supplement (Jose, et al. 2002). Jose, et al. 2002 suggests that creatine is the substrate of Creating Kinase to form Phosphocreatine (PCr) which is a high-energy compound and an important energy store for Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) resynthesis in muscle. this was also reiterated by Wyss, M et al 2000. During bouts of high-intensity exercise, muscle cells utilize their stores of (PCr) to maintain the intracellular ATP concentrations required for the maintenance of muscular effort (Bemben and Lamont 2005 & Sculnthorpe, et al. 2010). Intramuscular stores of PCr are limited, but supplementation of a normal diet with powdered creatine can increase total intramuscular creatine concentrations by approximately 15% to 20% (Mesa et al. 2002 & Sculnthorpe, et al. 2010).

There have been a number of studies that show if creatine supplementation has an effect. Four studies were done and were field based. And of the four, all four failed to show an ergogenic improvement (Goldberg et al. 1997, Burke et al. 1996, Mujika et al. 1996 & Redondo et al. 1996) but all of which were pre 2000. All four studies were done using short exercise bouts of 30 seconds and all failed to show an improvement in performance. More research shows that another five field studies, involving activities, which were swimming and running, only a single study showed improvement. The activities lasted between 30-150 seconds (Burke et al. 1996, Mujika et al. 1996, Thompson et al. 1996 & Grindstaff et al. 1997). Terrillion et al 1997 was the only study to show an improvement. According to Williams et al, 1998 it is likely that creatine supplementation is less effective in elite or highly trained athletes. Is was indicated that elite and highly trained athletes performing single competition-like exercise tasks did not benefit from creatine supplements.

If creatine is used there are proposed side effects which effect human health and performance . Francaux et al, 2006 suggests one side effect includes an increase in total body mass, particularly muscle mass. Francaux then went on to suggest that the average increase in body mass amounts to 1 to 2 kg, or 1% to 2.3% of total body mass. A further side effect is muscle cramps. There has been a number of studies to show if this was true in athletes. A study was done on sedentary females who supplemented creatine. Vandenberghe et al, 1997 found that none of the subjects suffered from cramps as a result of creatine supplementation. In another study, Greenwood et al, 2003, embarked on a study involving 96 young healthy subjects who trained over 3 years, reported no cramping associated with creatine supplementation. It is published, in sports newspapers and periodicals, that creatine supplementation leads to liver dysfunction but there is little scientific information on liver-metabolism changes induced by oral creatine supplementation (Francaux et al, 2006).

Blood doping is the next ergogenic aid which is going to be discussed. Blood doping can provide an aerobic advantage due to the increase of oxygen-carrying capacity in blood (John...
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