Seems clear that creatine is beneficial for bouldering. What are people’s thoughts on creatine supplementation and sport climbing? I’ve noticed an increase in the pump, but I’m not entirely sure if it’s in my head, and I wonder if the strength and recovery benefits outweigh the pump negatives if they do exist.

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I have not played with creatine myself (lately), but I remember reading somewhere that the increase in pump may have to do with dosage. So you could lower that and see if it reduces the pump but still gives you benefits with respect to power.

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I started experimenting with creatine in the middle of December. I decided to not load, but do a steady dose of 5mg/day. I’m blown away by the amount of water I have to drink to avoid crampy sensations. I’m also blown away by my improved recovery and general capacity. I’m sure I’m lost in the correlation/causation fog. I haven’t noticed a pump change with sport climbing. Kris, I think this would be a prime topic for breaking beta. Cheers, Peter


I’ve been doing a similar thing for a couple months now, haven’t sport climbed again yet. I’m thinking I might try going to >5mg every other day once I’m sport climbing again. Episode 9 this season will be a big Creatine Review and a statement from the International Society of Sports Nutrition.


My only experience with Creatine and sport climbing was with very bouldery sport climbs, the longest being 35ish total moves, so maybe not entirely fair.

That experience was positive, however. I put a harness back on for the first time in a while and dispatched a 13c and 13d that I had put quite a bit of work into years earlier while lighter and sport climbing regularly.

I hadn’t heard of anyone saying that the pump was worse on Creatine until this. Are you assuming it will be so because of added weight? Or is this a case of terminology mixup? The term “pump” as lifters use it is different than how climbers use it. Similar to the term “compression”. Tendon researchers use the word, and I’ve seen some smart people take that as compression climbing. :man_facepalming:t2:


Eric Horst talked about it a bit on his podcast, although he was pretty sure it wasn’t a thing and then later on said he had heard from a number of climbers that it affected them, so now he thinks it’s a thing that some people experience and that can be influenced by dosage level.

Personally I noticed it a while back, but I did do a loading phase and was taking more than 5g’s per day after that.

Do you mean more pump, slower to recover from it, on the ground or on the wall, or what? I’m curious. I’m not sure I could possibly tell if I was getting pumped faster than before or recovering slower, since literally every day and every route has felt fairly different.
Unless it was a dramatic difference, no way I could tell.

Mainly on the wall, but also as that almost painful “bricked “style of pump that can come shortly after falling on endurance style routes.

The way I understood Eric’s concerns was: Creatine makes you retain water in your muscles—> muscle get bigger → larger muscles occludes blood flow → you will move from the aerobic to the anaerobic lactic energy system sooner → more pump. It’s been a while since I read this, and I don’t remember the sources, but that was how I understood it.

Personally I have been taking creatine for the last few months during a bouldering program and just last week, doing easy routes on the auto-belay got me mega-pumped. I think that’s mostly because I havent been doing any route climbing, but damn that was some insane pump for 5.10 climbing. So I really don’t know.

Of course, it could depend on how much water retention you have from the creatine supplementation. I gained about 6 pounds during my first week of loading it (i’m a vegetarian, which I think could have something to do with it), whereas some people may only gain a pound or so.


Regarding this ineffable pump factor, I’d be curious if the HCL creatine would provide different results. From my limited knowledge (re: very limited) the added hydrochloride group is supposed to minimize the water retention.

I’ve used creatine during training cycles with mixed results. Maybe it’s why I keep getting pumped on on my projects?! Ha! It certainly allows me to train longer and with more intensity, which I’m discovering actually isn’t what I need in my training right now. Jury is out on whether I’ll use it in a cycle again. I haven’t really done an A/B comparison between monohydrate and HCL, but I can say unequivocally that HCL tastes like battery acid.

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You can think of the hydrochloride as a salt form of creatine. While the monohydrate and hydrochloride probably absorb differently (similar to e.g. different salts of a given mineral/electrolyte), once absorbed by your body there will no longer be a difference.
As for the taste, the hydrochloride tastes like battery acid because it is an acid, whereas creatine monohydrate is not.


After listening Breaking Beta i missed whether it was important or not to time creatine intake during the day in any way (first in the morning, or with food or before / after traning). Any thoughts?

You can take it any time of day, doesn’t matter. It’s about building up your storages long term, not acutely :+1: just try to be consistent with it.


I take it with collagen on workout days, but for convenience, not timing. Otherwise, whenever seems good, like @Kashmir says.