Maybe you’ve heard about how betaine derived from beet root can help increase the performance of long-distance cyclists and other endurance athletes. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research recently tested betaine’s effect on strength training. Scientists supplemented a hydrating beverage with 2.5 grams of betaine and had half of the study subjects drink that beverage or a placebo for 14 days. Each day, subjects performed 10 sets of bench presses to failure. The lifters who supplemented with betaine were able to perform about 6.5% more reps leading to greater training volume.

True Strength Moment: Scientists aren’t sure what the specific mechanism for improvement was, but post-workout levels of blood lactate didn’t rise as much in betaine supplemented subjects. If you’re going to put betaine to the test in your gym’s weight room, avoid the temptation of bench pressing every day like these study subjects. You’ll get more out of your training if you give each muscle group at least 48 hours to recover.

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