In a recent study by researchers from Exeter University, it was found that drinking beetroot juice as a pre-workout enhances muscle force.
The study recruited 10 healthy men in their early 20s and half of them drank beet juice a nitrate-rich pre-workout.
Participants then completed a single exercise 3 hours later and researchers measured muscle force and found that the torque generated by participants was 7% higher in the group who had the real pre-workout drink.
New Study and Beetroot Juice Supplementation
A new study from Exeter University suggests beetroot juice increases muscle force, allowing you to lift heavier weights and perform more repetitions.
Beetroot is a well-known vegetable, rich in nitrates, chemicals that boost oxygen and blood circulation around the body. Endurance athletes have adopted
Researchers used electrical pulses to measure muscle force, or the force applied by the muscles as they contracted
Participants had to contract their quadricep muscles 60 times while their dominant leg was attached to a lever during the experiment. They had to contract the muscle without moving the leg.
A 4.7 fluid ounce (fl.oz.) nitrate-rich pre-workout drink equivalent to beetroot juice was given to half of the participants. The rest were given a placebo drink containing an identical-tasting dummy powder. Both groups were unaware of which drink they were provided.
Researchers measured muscle force by using electrical pulses to measure muscle contractions.
In the group that had the real pre-workout drink, participants generated 7% more torque.
Acute NO3− ingestion has been reported to result in a ~ 5% increase in peak power during isokinetic dynamometry and sprint cycling whereas chronic (5–6 days) NO3− supplementation improved performance during a 30-s cycle sprint, and 5–20-m running sprints
Research Study: Relative to PLA, mean muscle torque production was ~7% greater during the first 18 contractions
The nitrate levels in muscle tissue were also assessed by taking muscle biopsies from the leg after consuming the drink, and before and after exercise. People who received the nitrate drink had higher nitrate levels in their muscles than those who did not.
Practically, our results suggest that athletes competing in sports which require maximal rates of force production and acceleration from the start to overcome inertia or for tactical advantage may benefit from dietary NO3−supplementation. However, the increased capacity for force generation afforded by NO3−ingestion may also be beneficial in continuous or intermittent high-intensity activities in which physical effort is more evenly distributed.
As nitrates are converted to nitric oxide in your mouth and gut which leads to dilated blood vessels.
'This study provides the first direct evidence that muscle nitrate levels are important for exercise performance, presumably because they serve as a source of nitric oxide,' said Dr. Barbara Piknova, a staff scientist at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
'These findings have implications not only for the exercise field but also for other areas of medicine, such as neuromuscular and metabolic diseases related to nitric oxide deficiency.'
According to Dr. Andy Jones, a physiologist at the University of Exeter, "Our research has already established dietary nitrate's performance-enhancing properties.".