Muscle power and muscle strength are often used as interchangeable terms. However, power actually refers to the ability to generate force quickly; think of the clean and jerk action, a baseball swing or the explosion of a vertical jump as examples that would measure muscle power output. Muscular strength on the other hand is the generation of muscle force without reference of time or speed – things like one-rep max bench or deadlift are pure strength movements.
For the athlete of course, the ability to maximize muscular force with speed makes for an incredible combination that can ultimately mean the difference between winning and losing, or getting that new PR.
To begin to understand how supplementation can support muscle power output and improve performance it’s important to understand how our skeletal muscles work and some of the important chemical and physical reactions that are involved. Check out this incredibly informative video that explains in detail the numerous steps involved in skeletal muscle contraction and movement. From the neurotransmitter signals, to the calcium release and the energy involved in muscle contraction – everything is covered.
The presence of elevated levels of calcium in the presence of ATP allows for the actin and myosin fibers of the muscle tissue to contract by sliding along one another, shortening the muscle fiber and contracting the muscle group as a whole.
This is a relatively simple summary, but it is effective at highlighting that there are several key physico-chemical steps and opportunities where supplementation can support muscle contractile force and power output:
1) Acetylcholine Availability: This can be ensured with supplementation of acetylcholine precursors like choline bitartrate, L-Alpha glycerylphosphorylcholine (alpha-GPC) or citicholine.
2) Calcium Release: Critical to muscle contraction, active ingredients like the amino acid Taurine can aid in pumping more calcium into the muscle fibres. Similarly one of the active constituents of the herb Selaginella tamariscina, amentoflavone, can also increase calcium release with muscle tissue.
3) ATP Availability: As the energy currency of our cells, ensuring adequate stores of ATP are available during anaerobic activity is critical to optimal performance. The most well-known supplement contributor to anaerobic ATP availability is creatine. Lesser known perhaps, but discussed in more detail in a recent blog post, trimethylglycine (betaine anhydrous) can support creatine synthesis and has been shown to amplify muscle power output.
The Making of The Ultimate Muscle Horsepower Complex
There has been quite a bit of research of some of these ingredients for not only their ability to impact muscle contraction and power output but physical performance overall:
Combining Taurine, Amentoflavone and Choline Bitartrate together with Trimethylglycine(Betaine anhydrous) would make for a potent combination and a multi-faceted approach to enhancing muscle power; supporting all 3 critical steps in muscle contraction: acetylcholine availability, calcium release and ATP availability. Thus forming the Ultimate Muscle Horsepower Complex – found only in New Amino HP, coming soon!
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