Creatine Kinase - are 5000+ levels acceptable for a lifter?
Lifting weights causes elevanted creatine kinase. Are your levels acceptable, or do you have rhabdomyolysis?
This graph shows my creatine kinase levels from my blood work over the past 4 years.
The sudden spike is when I swithched from powerlifting (Wendler's 531 boring but big) to a hypertrophy focused routine, which I started mid 2021. Prior to this, I had pretty much never done isolation exercises or high rep exercises; instead, focused purely on maximal strength whilst trying to minimise muscle mass and stay in a weight class.
Creatine kinase levels in the blood are effectively amount of dead muscle floating around waiting for kidney to dispose of. The more you work muscles, the higher it will be.
As you will see, when switching from a CNS/neuromuscular efficiency powerlifting routine, to a hypertrophy muscle growth type routine, creatine kinase spikes rapidly. So much in fact, that > 5000 is classes as clinical rhabdo and an inexperienced doctor may even admit you to hospital to be on a drip.
I found the difference between CNS type training to muscular hypertrophy fascinating and am glad to have performed regular tests to help me understand this.
The fact remains that weight trainers will always have highly elevated creatine kinase levels due to ongoing muscular damage and, in general, unless your urine is turning dark there is nothing to be concerned about.
About Kishore Naib (Kit Naib)
Kishore founded the e-commerce company Watch Shop in 2007 and exited in 2014 after an acquisition by Watches of Switzerland at the age of 34. Watch Shop was a medium sized enterprise (£44 million sales) and was one of the UK's fasted growing companies, doubling turnover every year.
After leaving Watch Shop Kishore did a few coding projects but decided to follow his true and first passion: Lifting and bodybuilding.