HMB for Crossfitters


5 Reasons CrossFitters benefit
from taking HMB

1. HMB works better in athletes who regularly get sore (muscle damage)

Anyone who CrossFits regularly knows that the constantly varied nature of training means regular stressing of the body’s systems. Across a number of studies, HMB has been shown to reduce muscle damage and the perception of muscle soreness (10) whether it’s longer workouts aimed at increasing aerobic capacity or regular weight training.

Reduced muscle damage and soreness means you can train harder and feel fresher when you get back in the gym the next day.

2. HMB works across different training modals

In study after study, HMB has been shown to improve your performance in the training you are doing. Strength athletes increase strength, endurance athletes improve VO2 max, for example (18)

For CrossFitters, this means HMB is a supplement that will impact all aspects of your performance, making you a better all-round athlete.

3. Published human research studies back it

HMB has a large body of research on athletes training in various modals, similar to those of CrossFit movements.

The published studies on HMB have training protocols that often involve movements like squats, deadlifts, sprints, presses and interval sprints on rowers and bikes (3, 9, 12, 18)

How do you know if a supplement works? Test it out on athletes doing the same training as you!

To dig into the research, see references and links at the bottom of the page.

4.HMB works extremely well in Master's athletes

A 2016 study found that as we get older, the amount of HMB we have in our body decreases. On top of this, taking HMB regularly is also shown to slow muscle wasting as we age.

For Masters athletes, the natural age-related decline in musculature is obviously not something the doctor (or coach) ordered. HMB could be a great supplement for this ever increasing CrossFit athlete population. If it means we'll be doing muscle ups in our 80s, then we’re all for it.

5. HMB helps speed recovery from injury

OK, so the topic of injuries in CrossFit can be a controversial one, but let’s face it, it’s physical activity at high intensity and sometimes injuries happen. Whether it’s shoulder impingement, a lower back injury or torn up hands, being unable to train sucks, and so does the time it takes to return to the level you were at before you got injured.

HMB has an anti-catabolic effect, meaning it slows muscle breakdown in conditions like inactivity and bed rest (18). For the injured athlete, this means that taking HMB may be a great way to slow the muscle wastage due to inactivity. Get your hands on some HMB for the next time you get that wrist strain from heavy cleans.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much HMB should I take?

Most studies have shown positive results with 3 grams a day for average individuals. It is best to split it into three - 1 gram servings spread throughout the day.

Q: Are there any negative side effects to HMB?

Extensive clinical studies have been conducted to specifically evaluate the safety of HMB and no negative side effects have been recorded in either men or women whether young or elderly.

Q: Who should NOT take HMB?

HMB has been shown to be completely safe to take in research studies on exercising adults both young and old, however it has not yet been tested on the following:

  • Pregnant women
  • Women who are breast feeding
  • Children

If you are on any medications or have a medical condition, you should always consult with your doctor before taking any dietary supplement.

Still curious about what HMB
is and how it can help?

Check out these pages:

1. Thomson et al. (2009): Controlled 9 week study on trained men. HMB increased lean mass, decreased fat mass and resulted in a substantial increase in lower body strength. Read the research

2. Nissen & Sharp (2003): A meta-analysis of all research to date on supplementation for strength and mass. Found that HMB and creatine are the only two supplements that have been shown to enhance strength and mass with resistance training. Read the research

3. Rowlans & Thomson (2009): A meta-analysis of existing research. HMB supplementation resulted in clear overall increases in strength in men starting a resistance training program, but the benefit of HMB in trained athletes was smaller. Read the research

4. Vukovich et al. (2001): Controlled 8 week study in weight training elderly men. HMB increased muscle strength and lean mass while increasing fat loss. Read the research

5. Lamboley et al. (2007): Placebo controlled study in college students. HMB supplementation increased maximal oxygen consumption by 5%. Read the research

6. Jowko et al. (2001): Controlled study in weight training males using creatine and HMB in combination. HMB and creatine supplementation results in even greater strength and lean gains than either HMB or creatine supplementation alone. Read the research

7. Baier et al. (2009): 1 year long controlled study in the elderly. HMB with two amino acids increased lean mass and protein turnover in older adults. Read the research

8. Slater et al. (2001): Controlled study in trained males. HMB enhanced strength and mass but the increases were small over the research period. Read the research

9. Vukovich & Dreifort (2001): Controlled study in trained cyclists. HMB supplementation increased cyclist endurance as measured by VO2 peak and lactic acid build-up. Read the research

10. Panton et al. (2000): Controlled study using male and female trained and untrained subjects. The study showed that regardless of gender or prior training, HMB increases strength and minimizes muscle damage when combined with a four week resistance-training program. Read the research

11. Kraemer et al. (2009): 12 week study on resistance trained men. HMB combined with two amino acids doubled the effects of training on lean mass and increased fat loss. Read the research

12. Gallagher et al. (2000): Controlled study with male weight lifters. HMB increased lean mass and peak muscle torques. It also decreased blood markers of muscle damage. Read the research

13. Knitter et al. (2000): Controlled study in male and female runners. HMB reduced muscle damage after a prolonged run as well as the perception of muscle soreness. Read the research

14. Kreider et al. (1999): Controlled study of 40 experienced, resistance trained men over just 4 weeks. HMB numerically increased lean mass and strength over the period of the study. Read the research

15. Wilson et al. (2008): A review of research on HMB. Concluded that collectively there is not only clinical data, but also mechanistic data supporting HMB's effect on increasing muscle mass and strength. Read the research

16. Nissen et al. (1996): Two controlled studies in weight training males for three and seven weeks. HMB increased strength and muscle mass while reducing muscle damage in all subjects. Read the research

17. Ransone et al. (2003): Controlled study in 35 trained collegiate football players. HMB increased muscle mass and reduced body fat however this was not statistically significant probably because the athletes only used HMB for 4 weeks so gains were small. Read the research

18. Wilson et al. (2013): The official position paper of the International Society of Sports Nutrition on HMB supplementation. HMB is one of the few supplements considered to be both safe and effective by the society. Read the research

19. Nissen at al. (2000): A series of small research studies looking at HMB safety in different age groups and genders found HMB to be safe to take and even beneficial to health. Read the research

20. Buford et al. (2007): The ISSN position stand on Creatine summarizes the research on the supplement ingredient. Read the research

21. Durkalec-Michalski & Jeszca (2016): A placebo controlled crossover study in 58 highly trained male athletes showed an increase in lean mass, reduction in fat mass and improvements in aerobic training performance. Read the research