The joint effect of strength training and ginger supplementation


Supplementation with ginger combined with strength training reduces the damage wreaked by aggressive molecules in fat people, but the combination doesn’t work better than either supplementation or training alone. Sports scientists from Iran state this in the Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness. The results of their study also suggest that ginger supplementation boosts the number of kgs muscle mass you build with strength training, and the number of kgs fat you lose as a result.

The joint effect of strength training and ginger supplementation
Overweight is unhealthy for a number of reasons, and one of these is that the extra kgs of fat multiply the activity of aggressive molecules – free radicals – in the body. Physical exercise – so strength training too – reduces this, and supplementation with ginger does the same. But what does combining the two do? That’s the question the researchers wanted to answer in their experiment.

Experimental setup
The researchers divided 32 overweight males in their twenties into four groups.

PL: took a placebo every day.
GI: took 1 g ginger extract daily.
RTPL: trained three times a week using weights and resistance machines and took a placebo daily.
RTGI: trained three times a week using weights and resistance machines and took 1 g ginger daily.

Protective effect
The experiment lasted 10 weeks. In this period the concentration of malondialdehyde [MDA] in the blood of the men in the experimental groups declined. The more MDA there is in your blood, the more havoc free radicals are wreaking in your tissues.

Both the ginger supplementation and the strength training reduced the concentration of MDA, but the combination of the two didn’t work any better than either supplementation or strength training alone.


The same happened with the concentration of antioxidants in the blood [TAC]. Antioxidants are compounds that neutralise free radicals.

Effect on muscle mass and fat mass
The researchers also looked at the effect of the supplementation and the weight training on the subjects’ body composition, and discovered that strength training with or without ginger led to an increase in lean body mass. The combination group seemed to do better than the strength-training group.


When the researchers looked at how much body fat the subjects lost, the same picture arose. Again, the strength-training group and the combination group lost significantly more kgs than the other groups – and again the combination group seemed to do a little better than the strength training group.


The statistics show that the combination group and the strength-training group did equally well. But it was a small study. It may be that the researchers, if they’d had a larger group of subjects, would have concluded that, for fat people at least, ginger supplementation helps boost the effect of strength training.