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Types Of Muscle Fibers
And How To Train Them

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There are two types of muscle fibres in your body and they are the fast twitch muscles which are also called the white muscle fibres or Type 2. The slow twitch muscle fibres or the red muscle fibres or Type 1 are the second type of muscle you have in every muscle in your body. To know which type of muscle you have most of would make an enormous difference when planning your workouts correctly.

You probably know better than anyone exactly which type of muscle fibre is the dominant one in your body because the two extremes are a good sprinter and a good long distance athlete. If you are the kind of person who always came in the top three of any sprint at school then you have predominantly fast twitch muscle fibres in your body.

If you are more comfortable running or cycling for long distances then you will be predominantly slow twitch muscle fibre and should set up your training accordingly so as not to waste your time and get the maximum benefit out of your workouts. All slow twitch or red muscle fibres are responsible for any long-duration or low intensity activity like walking and many other aerobic activities.

Fast twitch muscles or white muscles are responsible for any high speed explosive type of movement that you do. These muscles only function for a short duration before tiring and are responsible for any high intensity activity. The muscles are again divided into 2A and 2B which have to do with the duration of the explosive power being generated.

Just like any top professional marathon runner they will probably have as much as 80% of their muscle being red or slow twitch muscles. Conversely a top professional 100 meter sprinter, will have 80% of his muscles in his body being white or fast twitch muscles.

The mix that you have of white and red muscles can be worked out scientifically by training a particular muscle testing the limits of repetitions and comparing this to the amount of weight that can be lifted. One can easily do this yourself by first getting your 1RM for any isolated movement of that muscle group.

Say you select the dumbbell curl and you know your 1RM for that isolated movement. You then get to 80% of that 1RM and do as many reps as you can without affecting your form. If the maximum amount of reps you can do before reaching failure is between 4 and 7 reps then you have predominantly fast twitch muscles.

Conversely if you can squeeze out 10 reps or more using 80% of your 1RM then you will have about a 50/50 split between the two different muscle fibres. It is a person like this who can usually switch between sports like long distance running and baseball or any other sport.

If you discover that you can do more than 12 or 15 reps with 80% of your 1 RM, then you be a good marathon runner as most of your muscles will be will slow twitch fibres. Slow-twitch muscles are not as strong as fast twitch but they have an ability to endure repeated movement to create stamina and endurance in an athlete.

If you repeat these tests on all your major body-parts you will be able to create a training program that is very specific to your genetic ability as well as your own specific objective that you might have. Knowing your genetic capabilities is a good way to set about a training program geared for results.

You simply apply the principal that fast twitch needs short sets with lots of weight with few reps, but slow twitch needs high reps of more than 12 and holding as much weight as you can. The weight that you select would depend on how many sets you are doing and how fit you are.


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