Benefits of H2O

Mar 29, 2011
Benefits of H2O

Are You Drinking enough water throughout the day?

Regardless of how much you know or don't know about nutrition, it's likely that you know the cardinal rule about water.

And that is that you need a lot of it! That's because our bodies are about 70% water. Water is also critical for numerous processes in the body, and it keeps the muscles full and large by filling the muscle cells. That's what we call cell volumization. And now research shows that not drinking enough water can decrease muscle strength and muscle growth!

One study performed at Old Dominion University tested the one- rep max on the bench press of weight-trained men while they were either normally hydrated and or while slightly dehydrated. The Old Dominion University researchers reported that when the men were dehydrated, their one-rep max was significantly less than their one rep max when they were normally hydrated. They also discovered that the leaner the subjects were, the more that dehydration affected their strength. Since you are likely much leaner than the average Joe, this should concern you, especially when you are in a “get-lean” phase.

Tested and Approved

A study from the University of Connecticut (UCONN) tested the number of reps that weight-trained men could complete during a squat workout that consisted of 6 sets of squats using 80% of their 1-rep max (a weight that they could complete for about 8 reps) while normally hydrated and while slightly dehydrated. They also found that when the men were dehydrated they were not able to complete as many reps on most of the 6 sets, as compared to when they were normally hydrated. A study by Chicago State University researchers also found that when subjects were slightly dehydrated they had less leg and arm power (about 15-20% less) than when they were normally hydrated.

If strength and power were not enough to sway you to drink more water, then how about your testosterone levels? A second study by UCONN researchers measured men’s testosterone and cortisol levels after a squat workout while being normally hydrated or slightly dehydrated. They reported that being dehydrated significantly dropped their testosterone levels while simultaneously boosting their levels of the catbolic hormone, cortisol, after the workout.

Having less strength, power and endurance, as well as lower testosterone and higher cortisol levels should really have you alarmed. This is especially true when you consider that many of the studies found that subjects were weaker when their drop in body water was as little as 1.5% of their body weight (that’s only 3 pounds for a 200 pound guy). Your body can easily drop 3 pounds of water in just a few hours, depending on how much you are sweating and how much you are drinking. This could drop your strength, power, endurance, and ability to recover and grow after workouts.


To avoid even just slight dehydration and therefore the loss of muscle strength and size, you need to be sure that you are drinking an adequate amount of fluids each day. I recommended that you drink one gallon of water every day. This also happens to be the water recommendations that were set by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for most men. On days that you train, especially when it’s hot, you should even shoot for 1.5 gallons per day. But that fluid does not have to come just from pure water.  The water you get in tea, coffee and other drinks also counts.



Jones, L. C., et al. Active dehydration impairs upper and lower body anaerobic muscular power. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Resarch, 2008 Mar;22(2):455-463.


Judelson DA,Effect of hydration state on resistance exercise-induced endocrine markers of anabolism, catabolism, and metabolism. J Appl Physiol. 2008 Sep;105(3):816-24.

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