Beetroot extract is a reddish pink colored powder made from the roots of beets (Beta Vulgaris) and provides a very rich source of dietary nitrates. Dietary nitrates increase nitric oxide (NO) levels in the body– NO is used by the endothelium to trigger relaxation of blood vessels and promote increased blood flow. Beyond blood flow benefits, research shows that taking beetroot extract before training enhances muscle contractile efficiency, meaning you can push more weight with less energy cost.
A most recent study published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research provides more data supporting the use of beetroot extract prior to training. In this randomized, double blinded, and placebo-controlled study, the effects a nitrate supplement on bench press performance were evaluated in physically active resistance-trained males. The researchers reported that, compared to placebo, nitrate supplementation resulted in 23% more repetitions completed to failure and a 19% increase in total weight lifted per 3 set bench press session.
ACTION POINT: As always, we recommend taking 500-750 mg of high nitrate standardized beetroot extract, 30-60 minutes before training.
Mosher S, Sparks SA, Williams E, Bentley DJ, Mc Naughton LR. Ingestion of a nitric oxide enhancing supplement improves resistance exercise performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Apr 2. [Epub ahead of print]