Here’s a topic that I’m interested in and I’m hoping some of our experts can give me some background to.
Should an athlete be focusing on fast-twitch muscle fibers? Kind of a silly question, obviously it’s more useful for more explosive movements, but would there be a problem with not having as much slow-twitch muscle fiber aside from a lack of endurance? I’m about to start my Winter training after break and I’d like to know more about it.
What can be done to promote fast-twitch muscle fiber growth? Is it as simple as moving down 5 pounds on that dumbell and curling it faster or is there something more to it?
I also use whey protein when I lift, is there a diet supplement that would be better to use? I know there’s a specific brand made just for fast-twitch, but I’m still gonna train for endurance too, so is there just a better overall supplement for lifting that I can use?
I know that there has to be a balance between fast-twitch and slow-twitch to maintain both explosiveness and endurance, but I am looking to have more explosive strength than I have as of now. I know I have conditioning for baseball Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I’m waiting on my football schedule, so I might be lifting up to 4 days a week (I’ll balance it out, don’t worry, I’ve been lifting long enough to know my limits and I won’t kill myself either). I would just like to be more educated on the topic before I plunge into it, not knowing what I’m doing. Any information will be appreciated.
[quote=“J-Roc”]Here’s a topic that I’m interested in and I’m hoping some of our experts can give me some background to.
Should an athlete be focusing on fast-twitch muscle fibers? Kind of a silly question, obviously it’s more useful for more explosive movements, but would there be a problem with not having as much slow-twitch muscle fiber aside from a lack of endurance? I’m about to start my Winter training after break and I’d like to know more about it.[/quote]
Your training should match the energy system of the sport. Baseball is short, explosive spurts of action. You need to be able to summon the most tension in the smallest amount of time. Fast twitch muscle is able to produce tension much faster than slow twitch, and the amount of tension is far greater. In terms of endurance, by gaining FT fibers you would lose out on aerobic endurance, but not necessarily muscle endurance. But that works out well for baseball, since you never work at minimum speed for extended periods. You go hard, then stop, and repeat over and over again. You can gain muscle endurance by training high reps with medium load (and doing interval sprints, etc.).
“It is not the speed of the contraction but rather the force of the muscle that causes the motor nerves to recruit the fast twitch fibers” (Bompa). Heavy loads require more high powered muscle, so you’ll gain FT fibers. You can also work with power type exercises, combining both speed and strength, like Olympic lifts.
Protein is protein. There is no brand or supplement that can influence whether you build ST or FT fiber. That’s marketing BS.
If you try to structure your work like the sport, then the balance should work itself out. When they test athletes, there is a pattern that develops in the ratio of FT to ST. Marathon runners have 80% ST, and sprinters have more than 60% FT. If you have two days a week for baseball conditioning, you could probably shift your strength days to 3 a week and work whole body each day. Focus on the prime movers, the main muscle groups that you need to perform well. Squats, deads, pullups, rows, etc.
Once every two weeks, you can throw in a muscle endurance day. Go lighter on the weight, around 50-60% of 1RM and try to go to 20 or so reps per set. You don’t want to do this too often (and you dont need to do it often). Ross Enamait has a endurance session every 25 days in his workout program (once every 4 weeks), so you could get away with even less muscular endurance work.