Take your workout to the next level by adding the right strength supplements to your regimen

IT TAKES A SIGNIFICANT amount of energy (and sweat) to get the physique that you’ve always wanted. First you have to build a foundation of strength, which indicates how much stress (pulling, stretching, and flexing) your muscles can endure. Luckily, you’ve got help. Taking these key strength-boosting supplements can enhance your exercise capacity and help carve out a lean, muscular figure.

1 L-Arginine

Nitric oxide (NO) boosters give your muscles a “pump” during a workout by providing greater blood flow. To keep muscle momentum going, try taking L-arginine, an amino acid that increases NO production. A review published by the Journal of Advanced Research indicated that arginine supplementation pre-workout can greatly increase muscle strength and mass. Combine it with other amino acids in a pre-workout shake or other supplements and you’ll get even more nutrients to help feed your muscles.

2 Beta-Alanine

This precursor to the amino acid carnosine works to preserve muscular strength by reducing fatigue. Carnosine is made primarily in type II (fast-twitch) muscle fibers, which are associated with quick bursts of strength like lifting weights. It buffers acids by regulating muscle pH. During high-intensity workouts, carnosine prevents lactic acid buildup, which allows for greater work capacity—a good indication of muscular strength. Research shows supplementing with beta-alanine can improve volume during resistance training and reduce fatigue.

3 Vitamin D

An analysis of 13 studies by the University of Western Ontario found that taking daily doses of 800–1,000 IU of vitamin D provided increased muscular strength and balance among older adults. Vitamin D is a cholesterol-steroidderived hormone, and muscle tissues are thought to have vitamin D receptors. This means that getting enough D to the muscles can help enhance performance.

4 Taurine

This amino acid is found in high amounts in the heart, brain, and skeletal muscles, specifically fast-twitch muscle fibers. However, when the body is placed under a significant amount of stress, like during lifting, taurine levels become depleted. Research in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that two weeks of taurine supplementation elevated taurine levels 40% in fast-twitch muscle fibers, resulting in a 19% boost in muscleforce production. Other research shows taurine triggers more calcium to be released in muscle cells, leading to more powerful contractions.