Saturday, February 18, 2012

Understanding Your Muscle Fibers: A Look at How to Build Your Body by James Druman

To truly get the most out of your workouts, you need to understand what kind of muscle fibers you are stimulating with the workouts you are doing. While looking at any particular body part from the outside, you won't be able to tell the muscle fiber, if you were able to really check under the skin at the muscle itself you would see an incredible difference.

We are going to talk about the 3 main types of muscle fibers in the body. They are fast twitch muscle fibers type A, fast twitch muscle fibers type B, and slow twitch. Understanding the differences, will bring the understanding of your body to a new level.

Fast Twitch Type A

These are the muscles which do most of the powerful contractions, but are the type that fatigue quickly. They are your glory muscles, the ones that fill with blood and look good when your shirt is off. Doing three or four sets of squats or shoulder presses are a good example of when you would be using these muscles.

These muscles tend not to use oxygen as well as the others, this is why they are typically not endurance type muscles.

These are the muscle fibers that are going to use the creatine that you may be using in your muscle building journey right now. Working out will really deplete their normal creatine levels, and the need to supplement is often there.

Fast Twitch Type B

These are very similar to type A, but are often used on exercises that are not at a 100% level.

Much of the time if you are not going to failure on an exercise you will be using these type B fibers. They do not fatigue as quickly as type A, but do share a lot of the other characteristic as type A. They do not fatigue as quickly mainly because of their ability to use oxygen. It is far superior to type A oxygen use.

Slow Twitch

This brings us to the last type of muscle fiber. Slow twitch! These are your endurance muscles; they are the kind that long distance runners and other endurance sports use.

You will not get a lot of power out of these muscles, but their ability to use oxygen to maintain a steady pace is above and beyond any of the fast twitch types. These are also the muscle fibers that burn your fat as fuel. This is why cardio is an important factor in getting a lean body. The slow twitch muscle fibers, will in fact burn the fat on your body more effectively, but they will also use the other two types as fuel as well. This is why long bouts of cardio is not recommended for strength training. You will actually be burning off some of your muscular gains.

So when you are in the gym, now you will be able to understand the muscles you are using on a particular exercise. If you are doing a bench press to your max level, you are using Fast Twitch A. If you are working below your max level on strength or interval training type B is being used. If you are doing long bouts of cardio you will be using your slow twitch muscles.

Try to use this information to help you set up your next workout schedule to suit the goals that you have.