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Nonsteroidals Hinder Strength Gains

Lots of athletes and exercisers take ibuprofen, an over- the-counter medication, and other nonsteroidals to ease pain in their joints and muscles. A study from the University of Florida (Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, May 2006) shows that nonsteroidal drugs inhibit exercise-induced muscle growth and strength.

Athletes train by taking a hard workout and damaging their muscles. They feel sore on the next day and exercise at reduced intensity until their muscles are healed. When they feel no soreness, they take a hard workout again. When muscles heal from the stress of a hard workout, they are larger and stronger. Damaged muscles release a healing prostaglandin called Cox-2, that causes muscle growth and increased strength. Ibuprofen blocks Cox-2 and therefore will delay or inhibit muscle growth. Pain medicines may make you feel better, but at the cost of interfering with the strength gains you are working to achieve.

Checked 9/29/08

May 10th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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