Within our skeletal muscles, you see different fibers knitting together. They may look the same, but how they vary in action is interesting. In general, we have two types of muscle fibers in our bodies:
- Fast twitch (also known as Type I fibers)
- Slow twitch (Type II fibers)
1) Fast Twitch Muscle
- Generate great force within a short period for high intensity training.
- Therefore, strength training with heavy weights and fewer repetition will target these fibers. So will explosive training like sprinting. The take off motion in 100-meter sprint and long jump are good example of fast twitch muscle in action.
- These muscle fibers will grow larger in response to training.
2) Slow Twitch Muscle
- These muscles contract very slowly.
- They are involved in endurance training such as steady state one hour run, cycling, running or rowing. If you are doing 12 to 20 repetitions in your weight lifting set, slow twitch muscles will be finally get “hit” too.
- Depending on our training types, our muscle tissue has a tendency to take on appropriate properties. comparing a sprinter and a marathon runner. Sprinter has more fast twitch muscles which have more mass whereas marathoner has more slow twitch muscle fibers which are thinner. Thinner body will allow them to carry their weight across longer distance.
Even animals like chicken has slow and fast twitch fibres. Chicken use their slow twitch muscle to walk and stand for long periods of time while their fast twitch muscles at wings to brief burst of activity like flying.
So, What Is The Big Deal with Fast and Slow Twitch Muscle Composition?
- Average person has about half of each slow and fast fibers. Athletes who win many tournaments are those blessed with optimum muscle fiber composition. However, muscle composition is not the sole deciding factor in athletic performance. Training, nutrition, mental state and others are even more important success factors.
- Bodybuilder or powerlifter who aims for between 2 to 5 repetitions with heavy weight may not train their slow twitch fibers. On the other hand, people who train with higher repetitions and light weight may have neglected their fast twitch fibers. What we can learn from here is that we can vary the repetition with different weights to challenge muscle fibers on both types. Otherwise, by focusing only one type of training may get millions of muscle fibers untrained.
So, if you will either increase or decrease the number of repetition, you may move another step closer to finite potential for muscle building.
Category: Weight Training
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