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Real Difference Between Fast And Slow Twitch Muscles
Slow twitch muscles are the simplest to describe. They are powerful aerobically, meaning good at using oxygen. They are called slow twitch because they are slow to fatigue, not because they are slow to contract. Being slow to fatigue makes this type of muscle fiber important for endurance. These fibers recover fast after being fatigued. Slow twitch muscle fibers are useful to long distance runners and other endurance athletes.
Fast twitch muscles are more complicated, because they are classified into three subgroups. One is the Fast Oxidative fibers, which are good aerobically and are resistant to fatigue. Another type is Fast Glycolytic, which includes fibers that are more effective anaerobically (without oxygen transfer). They are the easiest to fatigue and the slowest to recover. The third type is intermediate, referred to as Fast Oxidative Glycolytic. The fast twitch muscles are so called because they fatigue fast. However, they recover slowly after being fatigued.
These are simplified descriptions of how muscle fibers are classified based on their ability to use oxygen and on the speed at which they fatigue and recover from fatigue. Slow twitch muscles actually twitch faster and recover faster from exercise than do fast twitch muscles.
Engaging Each Muscle Fiber Type
Your brain recruits muscle fibers for force rather than speed of contraction. For this reason, slow twitch muscles are the easiest fiber type to engage. They also require the least amount of energy. In fact, if you lift weights too quickly, you primarily engage your slow twitch muscles.
Slightly more energy is required to engage the Fast Oxidative muscle fibers, and still more for the Fast Oxidative Glycolytic fibers. The highest amount of energy is required to engage the Fast Glycolytic fibers.
The key for an optimum workout, therefore, is to take advantage of what physiologists call orderly recruitment. This means engaging each type of muscle fiber in sequence, from low energy and fast recovery to high energy and slow recovery. The important factors for accomplishing this in the same workout are: 1) sufficient weight for bringing on muscle failure (i.e., the point at which you can no longer lift the weight); 2) the right lifting speed for engaging all types of muscle fibers in sequence; and, 3) the total time under load (TUL) for a particular set or muscle group.
The optimum strategy for accomplishing all of the above entails a very slow lift rate and an equally slow return rate. One extra advantage of such super slow movements is that it is easier to use good form. Fast lifting leads to jerking weights rather than lifting them, which recruits some slow twitch muscles and leaves other fiber types unchallenged.
All the recommendations in this article are backed by numerous scientific studies over the past few decades. The best summary of this research is now available in a book, Body by Science, by Dr. Doug McGuff, M.D., and John Little. It is the best and most recent book on this topic. By the way, the subtitle of this book is, A Research-Based Program for Strength Training, Body Building, and Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week.
On a personal note based on my experience, 12 minutes a week may even be more than you need. My own muscle building improvements have accrued very effectively on about 10 minutes a week.
All the best in muscle building,
Muscle building tips are to many to choose wisely without good advice. Many trainers just repeat what they hear from others. Here are examples of what the original thinkers have to say. Great advice!
When it comes to the world of muscle building, there are lots of misconceptions and lies floating around. Everybody appears to have a different opinion, and so.
Publish Date: 05/17/2010 22:50
Another muscle building secret for skinny people is to perform compound exercises which work on a variety of muscles at the same time including squats and chest presses. The most effective exercises are the free weight exercises as they …
Publish Date: 05/18/2010 7:08
The muscle building guide is your reliable partner in your quest to get the muscle mass you have desired about. This is such a good tool in order for you to.
Publish Date: 05/18/2010 6:42
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Bodybuilding Tweets on Monitoring Your Progress
In the name of muscle building tips for fitness,
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Most trainers and fitness experts do not know the best way to build muscle. Effective muscle building exercise must include time under load and sufficient recovery time. New research shows that effective muscle building workouts are easier and faster than ever. Here is how.
Fitness and Muscle Building Myths
Myth No. 1: You may be surprised to know that the fitness industry has no generally agreed upon definition of fitness. And many kinds of exercise have no positive impact on muscle mass. My definition of fitness, for the purpose of this article, is having optimum amounts of lean body mass and body fat. Ideally, any exercise program should reach these twin results, although most muscle building workouts fail to do so.
Myth No. 2: The standard strategy of alternating weightlifting workouts every other day for multiple muscle groups is the most effective way to build muscles. This is a myth. Indeed, new and old research shows that this is pretty much a stupid strategy, for several reasons. Fitness gurus who still advocate this standard strategy are either ignorant of this body of scientific research or they choose to ignore it.
Myth No. 3: You can look just like the folks on TV infomercials and other kinds of advertisements if you just buy whatever they are selling and do what they tell you to do. The truth for most people is that they are not predisposed to get those results. Only a select few can.
How to Get the Best Results Based on Good Scientific Research
The best research summary and workout advice that is available right now is presented in a new book (2009) by Dr. Doug McGuff and John Little, titled Body by Science. The subtitle is, A Research-Based Program for Strength Training, Body Building, and Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week. The big surprise for me is that this claim is not a hyped up, empty marketing promise. It is a reality that McGuff and Little substantiate with impeccable science. Their website (bodybyscience.net) offers additional, extensive explanations on fitness that get right to the core of human exercise physiology.
My advice, therefore, is simply to get and read this book. You may find, like I did, that bookstores do not always have it in stock. If so, just order it online.
What You Can Expect
My example is myself. I am in my early sixties, recently lost 25 lbs and 8% body fat by resetting my hormone balance, completed a half-marathon last year and an Olympic distance triathlon not too long ago. Before that, no matter what I did, my body fat kept increasing and lean body mass kept decreasing. One of my mistakes, as I discovered in McGuff and Little’s book, is that my long-distance running and endurance training contributed to my diminishing fitness. Oh, what a surprise that was!
Read their book and see what I mean. Meanwhile, for the sake of brevity, here is a summary of my results from the exercise protocol in Body by Science. These results are based on the book’s Big 5 exercise machines for the following movements: 1) Seated Row, 2) Chest Press, 3) Leg Press, 4) Overhead Press, and 5) Pulldown.
Day 1, Workout 1
Reps and Starting Weights
1) 5 x 100 lbs; 2) 5 x 130 lbs; 3) 6 x 270 lbs; 4) 4 x 60 lbs; 5) 7 x 150 lbs.
Day 33, Workout 5
1) 6 x 130 lbs; 2) 4 x 160 lbs; 3) 8 x 300 lbs; 4) 3 x 80 lbs; 5) 6 x 180 lbs.
My total time under load (doing each movement) for all machines averages about 9 minutes per workout.
My results are straightforward and simple to follow. They are realistic for everyone, in spite of the fact that I did not adhere perfectly to the protocol. My goal was to keep it simple, and I got good results anyway. Note that these results came after only 5 workouts, with a total time under load of about 45 minutes, over 33 days. This is absolutely the best and easiest muscle building exercise program that I have ever done.
The good news is that I can expect continued improvement for at least another 7 workouts. I say this because the research generally encompasses a 12 week period. Who know how far I can go after that?
There is a lot to know about the Body by Science protocol: frequency, duration, intensity, recovery time, keeping track of progress, exercising different muscle types (not muscle groups), time under load, etc. Nevertheless, everyone can get good results with this protocol. No need to buy expensive DVD sets, fitness equipment, supplements, special food, or high-priced coaching. The only drawback is that, if enough people catch on to how good the Body by Science protocol is, we might see an economic downturn due to the lost sales of all that other stuff. Sorry about that.
All the best from fitness science,
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