Squat guys out there, we’ve got good news. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) decrease post-exercise muscle soreness after a squat workout. Japanese researchers found that consuming 5.5 grams of BCAAs before an intense squat workout (7 sets of 20 reps with 3 minutes rest between sets) decreased muscle damage and chemical markers of muscle cell damage by approximately 20 percent.
Muscle force measured three days after the workout was 20 percent greater in people who consumed BCAAs. BCAAs include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They comprise about 18 percent of the total amino acids, and 35 percent of the essential amino acids (must be consumed in the diet) in skeletal muscle. “BCAA may attenuate exercise-induced protein breakdown, while leucine may stimulate muscle protein synthesis”, the researchers write. “If the finding is substantiated, the results could support the usefulness of BCAA in muscle recovery from exercise.” (International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 20:236-244, 2010)