Fast Twitch Vs. Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers

What's up guys?

This is Tai, the "Asian Wonder", your Online Personal Trainer.


In this video I want to
explain to you guys a very,very important concept that there's a lot misunderstanding about in the gym among the gym members and the trainers themselves.

This issue
deals with how you gain muscle and how to grow muscle, and how muscles work and the difference between fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers, what intensity levels you should train at and how many reps, should you train high reps, low reps, should you train for strength or endurance.

So in this video I'm going to answer all these questions for you but before I do I want to go through it step by step so you guys can understand.

If you do a Google search on strength versus endurance, fast twitch versus slow twitch, high reps versus slow reps and all these things on Google, on YouTube...

... you will find there's
a lot of conflicting information or there's a lot of incomplete information and the reason why is because people really don't understand they have a full grasp.

You have trainers out there that will understand the muscles in theory but they don't understand it in application. So they have theoretical knowledge but they don't have the experiential knowledge.

And in this video I want
to share something with you guys that I spent over a decade of doing research and experimental experiments on.

With the prisoners that I used to train as a volunteer and I'm going to share with you what I discovered during that time.

I'm going to start off first by showing you guys about this intensity level scale right here, scientifically, it means that the level at which you exert your muscles and how much of your muscle capacity that you use.

Now the way that you understand this as is that in the muscles in the human body you have, let's just say that, between zero to 100 percent capacity,

Now I
would... at this 60 percent level Anything that you do that's below sixty percent of your capacity, what it does is it activates what we call your slow twitch muscle fibers, and...

... these
are all the slow twitch muscle fibers down here that I'm going to color code in red and it's very easy to remember the red fibers because that's the one that transport all the blood and that's the one you need for endurance, for conditioning and for a long distance type or a long length of time type of training.

And that's what the slow or endurance muscle fibers are for.

Sometimes you'll be or
you'll hear in the textbooks and in the magazines and the videos on YouTube and Google this is called your red fibers. Right?

So this has many names but regardless of what it is, I just simply call it your endurance muscles right here and I'm going to write it right here on the side so you guys can remember that.

These are you endurance fibers right here.

Now above this when you
train over sixty percent of you capacity meaning that if you're able to lift a hundred pounds and you can lift beyond that sixty pounds of your mass then what this would be considered is your fast-twitch fibers right here.

So in this range I'm going to color-code in blue for no other reason than just so it's a different color here.

This is what we call your
strength and your speed fibers. So the fibers up here is what you use to do split second run, and a sprint, and a forty yard dash, and a fifty yard, a hundred 200, 400 yard dash...

...
this is what you're using right here are these muscle fibers up here.

Now the fibers down here are being used and when you're doing a marathon running or when you're walking and things like that.

Now how does the body, this is
a very important question because if you talk to a lot of trainers and a lot of gym members they don't even understand this when the body activates which fiber?

And this is very, very crucial guys.

If you guys understand this concept you can be an excellent trainer and you can get really good results at the gym is you have to understand when the body activates the strength and the speed fibers and when it activates the endurance fibers and before you understand that you have to understand why the human body has these two different types of fibers.

And the reason why it has this is for survival reasons.

Remember, through evolution the human
body has evolved to become what it is today. And in order for us to survive, to run away from a saber-tooth tiger or from Tyrannosaurus Rex or from any kind of danger we had to have the ability to just explode and get out of the way as a lion is chasing our ass down and trying to take a bite out of our ass.

So because of that, Mother Nature evolved our human bodies so that it has these strength and speed fibers so that we can explode and get the hell out of the way and run to safety.

Now these endurance fibers are normally used for just everyday activity.

For example if I'm lifting these
whiteboard markers up right here, and I'm just walking around the house and picking up paper or typing on the computer, then it uses these endurance fibers because it doesn't have to contract.

It doesn't have to contract very fast. Now these strength fibers and speed fibers, they contract very fast, so that when you need to haul ass they can contract and get you out of danger, right?

So because of that, there is a special type of fuel that this uses, and there's a special type of fuel that this uses and I'll go into that a little bit later.

But first of all, I want you just to understand that is to protect us for safety and this is unique.

Because it's the only muscles that
can grow inside the human body. Now, you might hear this often referred to as the fast twitch right here, or you might refer to it as the white fibers, and you might even hear it referred to as the type one, type two muscle fibers.

Type two. And these right here are often referred to as the red fibers or the slow twitch, or you might hear it referred to as the type one.

Now, all these do
not matter and if you get this wrong, where it's type two or type three or type two, it does not matter.

The easiest way to remember
this is just to remember that this is called the endurance fibers and these are the strength and the speed fibers.

Now when you guys are at the gym you will hear a lot of people refer to this, and let me go ahead and draw this out right here.

You'll often hear this referred to as the aerobics training down here. This would be the anaerobic.

When I train people or when I'm teaching other trainers how to train people I just let them know that this is the endurance, and this is the strength and the speed, and that's the fastest and the easiest way to remember these things, folks.

Don't try to make it complicated, right?

That's about as much theory as
you need for these different levels of fibers right here.

Now, the next question that you're going to ask yourself is that which is the best intensity level to train at, should I train at below sixty percent or above sixty percent?

Now the answer to that
is it depends upon what it is that you're trying to do.

If you're trying to burn body fat, then what it is that you want to do, is you want to train mostly in this area, because these are the fibers that burn the most fat, and then if you want to train for muscular size and strength and speed, then you want to train up here, because that's the fibers that create speed.

They create strength and they create the size that you want in your muscles.

Normally, the average quantity of
the endurance fibers in the human body is a 50-50 ratio.

In other words, you'll have an average person will have 50% endurance fibers and the other 50% will be strength and speed fibers.

The way that it is layered in the body is like this.

You have 50% speed fibers here, 50% endurance fibers.

They are interlaced right next to each other like this.

So, just keep in mind that we have 50% of the human body is made out of speed fibers and the other 50% is made up of endurance fibers.

Now, obviously, if you have guys like Ben Johnson or you have guys like Michael Johnson, who are extremely fast, guys of insane bulk or any of these Sprinters, these Olympic Sprinters.

What happens is that their body has more of the speed fibers than they do the endurance fibers.

So for example, they might
have 60% or even 65% speed fibers.

More speed fibers than they do the endurance fibers, and if you look at some of the marathon runners, they'll have more of 60 or 65% endurance fibers, versus the speed fibers, and that's how these athletes are all able to excel in the sport that they are.

Normally if you are training at the gym, there's a lot of people that will say they train high intensity the screaming, the yelling and the, all that making funny ugly faces and stuff.

And to me that's not what high intensity training is. High intensity training is when you train near towards the 100% right here, range, where you're using the full capacity of your muscles.

So, for example, if I can bench 325 pounds, if I'm only benching 100 pounds in my workout then that means I'm training at a very low intensity level.

If I'm training at
near 300, 315, 320 pounds, that's almost near my maximum weight that I can bench press, then that would be considered a high intensity and this is about as much information as you need, concerning fast and slow twitch fibers and the intensity levels enough to understand, this is enough theory to get you going to get the results you're looking for.

Thanks for watching this video so far and in the next section I'm going to cover the next important part of the muscle fibers and we're going to talk about the reps range and how this information right here will determine how many reps that you need to do for your exercises, depending on what your goals and what your results that you're looking for are.

So I'll see you in the next video.

http://www.PersonalTrainerTai.com

Intro To Fast Twitch Vs. Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers

In this video I want to explain to you guys a very, very important concept that there’s a lot misunderstanding about in the gym among the gym members and the trainers themselves, so this issue deals with:

  • How you gain muscle…
  • How to grow muscle…
  • How muscles work…
  • The difference between fast twitch vs. slow twitch fibers…
  • What intensity levels you should train at…
  • How many reps should you train… high reps, low reps, etc.
  • Should you train for strength or endurance?
  • etc.

So in this video I’m going to answer all these questions for you but before I do I want to go through it step by step so you can understand it.

If you do a Google search on:

  • strength versus endurance muscles
  • fast twitch versus slow twitch
  • fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers
  • high reps versus slow reps

… and all these things on Google, on YouTube, you will find there’s a lot of “conflicting” information or a lot of “incomplete” information regarding the difference between the fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers.

The reason why is because most people really don’t understand the science of fast twitch vs. slow muscle fibers so they are unable to maximize their muscle and strength gains.

You have trainers out there that will understand the muscles in theory but they don’t understand it in application.

So they have theoretical knowledge but they don’t have the experiential knowledge.

So in this video I want to share something with you guys that I have spent over a decade of doing research and experiments on prisoners that I used to train as a volunteer and I’m going to share with you what I discovered during that time.

What Is Muscle Intensity?

I’m going to start off first by showing you guys about this intensity level scale right here…

… scientifically, it means that the level at which you exert your muscles and how much of your muscle capacity that you use.

Now the way that you understand this is that…

The muscles in the human body have between zero to 100% capacity.  The area around the 60% level of your muscle capacity is very important because this is where your body deactivates the slow twitch muscle fibers and begins activating the fast twitch muscle fibers.

It’s NOT precisely at 60% for everyone but it’s generally around that area.

Anything that you do that’s below 60% of your maximum muscle capacity activates what is called your slow twitch muscle fibers, it’s very easy to remember these red (slow twitch) fibers because:

  • They transport all the blood.
  • They are used for endurance exercises.
  • They are used for conditioning exercises.
  • They are used for all long distance activities or any “long length of time” type of training.

That’s the purpose and function of the slow twitch or endurance muscle fibers.

Sometimes you’ll hear in the textbooks and in the magazines and the videos on YouTube and Google that these slow twitch muscle fibers are called your “red muscle fibers

So these slow twitch muscle fibers have many names but regardless of what it is, I just simply call it your “endurance muscles“.

When you train over 60% of you capacity… for example, if you’re able to lift a 100 pounds for your 1 Rep Maximum and you can lift beyond 60 pounds (which is 60%) of your 1 Rep Maximum then this would be considered working your “fast twitch muscle fibers“.

The fast twitch muscle fibers are what I call your “strength fibers” or your “speed fibers“.

The fast twitch muscle fibers are what you use to do:

  • explosive, split second runs
  • sprints & jumps
  • 100, 200, 400 yard (meter) dashes

The slow twitch muscles fibers are being used when you’re doing a marathon running or when you’re walking and things like that.

If you ask most trainers and gym members… they don’t even know when the body activates the fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers.

At what point the body activates the fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers is extremely crucial to muscle and strength gain success.

You can get really good results at the gym (as well as be an excellent personal trainer) if you clearly understand when the body activates the strength and the speed (fast twitch) fibers and when it activates the endurance (slow twitch) fibers.

Before you understand how and when the fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers are activated… you have to understand why the human body has these two different types of fibers.

Difference Between Fast Twitch  Vs. Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers

Keep in mind, the word “twitch” means “to contract”, so a fast twitch muscle fibers simply means it can contract faster than a slow twitch muscle fiber.

The reason why your body has two different types of muscle fibers (fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers) are for survival reasons.

Through evolution the human body has evolved to become a “surviving machine”.

In order for you to survive many thousands of years ago such as running away from a saber-tooth tiger or from Tyrannosaurus Rex or from any kind of danger, you had to have the ability to just explode and get out of the way as a hungry lion is chasing your ass down and trying to take a bite out of our ass.

So because of that, Mother Nature evolved the human body so that it has these strength and speed (fast twitch) fibers so that you can explode and get the hell out of the way and run to safety.

Now these endurance (slow twitch) fibers are normally used for just everyday activity.

For example, if I’m lifting some pencils or markers or I’m just walking around the house and picking up paper or typing on the computer, then it uses these endurance (slow twitch) fibers because it doesn’t have to contract quickly or rapidly.

It doesn’t have to contract very fast because my life is NOT in danger.  In other words, typing faster or slower or lifting a pencil is not a life threatening activity.

On the other hand, the strength and speed (fast twitch) fibers… they contract very fast, so that when you need to haul ass and get away from danger  they can contract quickly and rapidly and get you out of danger or harm’s way.

I want you to clearly understand that the function of the fast twitch fibers are to protect and provide for safety.

I put a lot more emphasis on the fast twitch muscle fibers because they are very unique when you are trying to gain muscle size and strength.

Because it’s the ONLY muscle fibers that can GROW and INCREASE IN SIZE within the human body after puberty!

You will also hear the fast twitch muscle fibers often referred to as:

  • White muscle fibers
  • Type IIa and Type IIb muscle fibers.

On the other hand, the slow twitch muscle fibers are often referred to as:

  • Red muscle fibers
  • Type I muscle fibers.

I differentiate which fiber is which by remembering that cardio and aerobic activities require more oxygen to be delivered to the muscles so…

… that means more blood flow to the muscles, and since blood is red…

… I can remember that the “red muscle fibers” are the slow twitch fibers because your muscle fibers do NOT have to twitch (contract) fast to perform the exercise.

On the other hand, I remember the fast twitch fibers by thinking of the muscles as being “fast as lightning”…

… and since “lightning” is colored white, then the fast twitch muscle fibers are also the white fibers.

Plus, the fast twitch fibers require less blood flow therefore they have less “color”, therefore they are white fibers.

You can easily be confused as to the functions of the fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers and I find that the easiest way to remember them is just to remember that:

  • The slow twitch fibers are called the endurance fibers.
  • The fast twitch fibers are called the strength and the speed fibers.

When you are at the gym you will also hear some people refer to the fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers as:

  • Aerobic fibers for slow twitch fibers.
  • Anaerobic fibers for fast twitch fibers.

What Is The Best Training Intensity Level For Fast Muscle Gain?

The next obvious question that comes to mind is…

What is the optimum intensity level to train at for fast muscle size and strength gains?

Should you train below 60% or above 60% of your maximum muscle capacity?

Now the answer to that depends upon what it is that you’re trying to do.

If you’re trying to burn body fat, then you want to train BELOW 60% of your maximum capacity, because these are the fibers that burn the most fat.

If you want to train for muscular size, strength and speed, then you want to train ABOVE 60% of your maximum capacity because those are the fibers that are responsible for those high intensity tasks.

How Much Fast Twitch Vs. Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers
Does Each Person Have?

The ratio of fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers in everyone’s body is very similar in proportion.

Normally, the average ratio of the strength/speed (fast twitch) fibers to endurance (slow twitch) fibers in the human body is a 50:50 ratio.

In other words, the average person will have 50% strength/speed fibers and the other 50% will be endurance fibers.

These two types of muscle fibers are interweaved next to each other throughout the skeletal muscles in your body.

In case you forgot, the skeletal muscles are responsible for moving all the bones and articulating all the joints in your body.

Now, obviously, you have world class athletes like Ben Johnson, Michael Johnson, Muhammad Ali, Mike Tyson, etc. who have a disproportionate amount of fibers and are born with more fast twitch fibers then slow twitch fibers.

These athletes have more strength/speed fibers than they do the endurance fibers.

For example, they might have as much as  60% or even 65% of strength/speed (fast twitch) fibers and only 35-40% endurance (slow twitch) fibers.

Most professional athletes in highly explosive or strength intensive sports will have more strength/speed (fast twitch) fibers than they do the endurance (slow twitch) fibers.

On the other hand, if you look at some of the marathon runners, they’ll have more of 60 or 65% endurance (slow twitch) fibers, versus the strength/speed (fast twitch) fibers, and that’s how these athletes are able to excel in their respective sports.

What Is High Intensity Training?

Normally if you are training at the gym, there’s a lot of people that will say they train high intensity by doing a lot of obnoxious screaming, yelling, and making funny, ugly faces and stuff.

To me that’s not high intensity training.  It’s just a bunch of dumb asses trying to showoff and get attention at the gym.

Here is the correct definition of high intensity training:

High intensity training is training that is done at or close to 100% of your maximum muscle capacity!

For example, I can bench 325 pounds for a 1 Rep Maximum, if I’m only benching 100 pounds in my workout then that means I’m training at a very low intensity level because it is only utilizing 31% of my chest capacity.

If I’m training near 300, 315, or 320 pounds, that’s almost near the maximum weight that I can bench press so that would be considered  high intensity training.

The advantage of training at a higher intensity level is that you can gain muscle size and strength much faster.  However, the risk of injury is also extremely higher.

Therefore, I do NOT recommend you train above 90% of your maximum muscle capacity unless you have a bad ass trainer such as myself working with you to make sure you are doing it correctly.

When you do not have professional training, then just stay between 60-90% of your 1 Rep Maximum.

Summary Of Fast Twitch Vs. Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers

When your goal is to gain muscle size and strength, you need to know that the big differences between the fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers in your body.

Here are some common names for the fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers:

  1. Fast twitch muscle fibers (a.k.a., white fibers, Type IIa, Type IIb, anaerobic, strength/speed fibers, etc.)
  2. Slow twitch muscle fibers (a.k.a., red fibers, Type I, aerobic, endurance fibers, etc.)

The word “twitch” means “to contract” so a fast twitch muscle fibers simply means it can contract faster than a slow twitch muscle fiber.

It’s important to understand the difference between the fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers because you want to train the right fibers depending upon what you are trying to accomplish with your workouts.

  1. If you want to get bigger, stronger, faster, etc. then you want to focus training ABOVE 60% of your capacity in order to activate the fast twitch fibers because they are the ONLY fibers in your body that can grow bigger in size.
  2. If you want to burn body fat or have more endurance, then you want to focus training BELOW 60% of your capacity in order to activate the slow twitch fibers because they burn more fat and get more oxygen to last longer.

Now that you have a better understanding of the differences between fast twitch vs. slow twitch muscle fibers and how it affects muscle gain, let’s move on…

In the next section on How To Gain Muscle, I’m going to clearly explain:

  • The importance of training the correct reps.
  • The ideal rep range to gain muscle fast.
  • The ideal rep range to gain strength quickly.

So keep an eye out for my next email!

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