STACK IT! Part 2

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In this, the second of a four-part series on stacking supplements, we show you how to stack for strength

by Jim Stoppani, PhD

April 29, 2010

FLEXONLINE.COM

STRENGTH STACK
Strength is another key area of concern for a bodybuilder. But the amount of weight you can lift isn't just important for impressing your gym buddies. Being stronger allows you to place more mass-building overload on the muscles you are training every time you go to the gym.

* BETAINE
This supplement, known formally as trimethylglycine, is a metabolite of choline. Betaine has been around for a while, but it was used primarily for promoting health. Betaine can inhibit the production of homocysteine, an amino acid that is associated with a higher risk of cardio vascular disease. Preventing the body from forming homocysteine also encourages greater creatine production. This is why a few manufacturers add betaine to the creatine they produce. University of Connecticut (Storrs) researchers were the first to discover that betaine is an effective strength supplement. Under their watch, 12 trained men received either betaine or a placebo for two weeks while following a strength training program. They reported at the 2007 annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine that when the subjects took betaine, their bench press strength was boosted by about 25%, while their power on the bench press increased by about 15%.

* TAURINE
This amino acid has been used as a supplement to boost muscle strength for a few years. Research shows that higher levels of taurine in muscle cells are associated with greater muscle strength and muscle endurance. Investigations have also demonstrated that when taurine in muscle fibers is decreased, as happens during exercise, so too is the strength of those muscle fibers. Little is known about how it enhances performance, except that increasing its levels in muscle somehow seems to boost muscular contractions, and this leads to greater muscle strength.

* WHEAT GERM
This innermost layer of the wheat kernel stores most of the protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals found in wheat. Yet, wheat germ is not just a great source of slow-digesting carbs for a preworkout meal. Its active ingredient octacosanol is an alcohol that makes up the main component of wax in plants. Research studies confirm that octacosanol supplements boost muscle strength and muscle endurance, as well as enhance reaction time in athletes. Octacosanol increases the ability of the nerves that control muscle contractions to fire faster and more synchronously, which allows for faster and stronger muscle contractions and therefore greater muscle strength.

STACK THEM LIKE THIS
Add 1,000-1,500 milligrams of betaine, 1-3 g of taurine and about 1/2 cup of wheat germ to your preworkout protein shake (taken within 30 minutes prior to training). Add 1,000-1,500 mg of betaine and 1-3 g of taurine to your postworkout protein shake (taken within 30 minutes after training).

STRENGTH STACK

SUPPLEMENT DOSE
Betaine* 1,000-1,500 mg
Taurine* 1-3 g
Wheat germ* 1/2 cup

* Add to your preworkout protein shake

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