Monday, January 17, 2011

Fast or Slow?

I'd like to take a few minutes to discuss Muscle Fibers. It's generally accepted that the Fibers that make up your muscles are broken down into two groups, Fast Twitch and Slow Twitch. Each uses your bodies fuel differently, and operates differently. Fast Twitch or Type 2, are used for quick bursts, high intensity movements, and uses its fuel stores the quickest. An example would be a 100 meter sprint. Slow Twitch, or Type 1, uses fuel more slowly and are the fibers used more prominently when doing prolonged excersizes. An example would be the 5k run. Both are important to overall fitness, and both need to be trained specifically. If you were to take a sprinter and a long distance runner, and put them next to each other, you would really see the difference in the muscle fibers and the athletes physical make up. I recently found a great workout called the 4 day Power Muscle Burn workout from Muscle and Strength, and Ive began incorporating it into my workouts. The way it works is you pick a body split, for todays post we will use Legs as the example. I did this workout this morning. You start with the Power Set, which will be high weight/ low rep (4 sets of 3-5 repetitions) and maximizes strain on the Fast Twitch Muscles. You then move on the some movements that consist of difficult, but not overwhelming weight, for 3 sets and 6-12 repetitions. This will deliver a fair amount of strain on Fast and Slow Twitch Muscles at the same time. And you finish off with Low weight/ high repetitions to really target the slow twitch fibers. Something like 2 sets of 20 repetitions. My workout looks like this..

Squats (4x3), Leg Press (3x9), Leg Extension (3x8) and Leg Press (2x20). This is all for the Quad muscle group. For Hamstrings, I do Stiff Legged Deadlifts (4x5), Leg Curls (3x8) and Leg Curls (1x30).

This workout has effectively hit every muscle fiber in my Quads and Hamstrings, and ultimately left me unable to walk without looking like I need a walker. Its also worth noting that Squats will also really hit the Glutes (your bum!), as will the deadlifts.

Its also worth noting that doing heavy compound movements such as Squats and Deadlifts also help the body to release much more natural human growth hormone, to help your body recover and grow.

Its important to remember that when doing this particular workout, you are effectively destroying half of your body, so you'll want to have a post workout protein shake, or meal high in protein immediately after the workout to allow your body to begin the recovery process.

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