Understanding Muscle Fibers and What They Do

Many people who work out at the gym have no idea behind why their muscles are getting bigger as they lift weights. Here is a very basic explanation of what muscles are made of and what makes them grow. Muscles are composed of three types of basic fibers: slow twitch fibers, fast twitch fibers (A), and fast twitch fibers (B).

Slow twitch fibers are used primarily for endurance, such as in activities like long distance running. They are not capable of generating a lot of force, but they will not tire out easily. If you are weight training using low weights with high repetitions, you will also stimulate these muscle fibers. What these fibers won’t do however, is result in significant muscle mass gain. A good example is a long distance runner’s body type – slim and lean.

Fast twitch fibers on the other hand are capable of great force, but tire much more easily. The difference between fast twitch (A) and (B) fibers is that B is capable of even greater forces than (A), and tire easier than (A) as well. These muscles are used in explosive activities such as power lifting or sprinting. Weight training with heavier weights and lower reps will help develop these types of fibers. This type of training will result in significant muscle mass gains. Good examples are bodybuilders or football players.

It should also be noted that every person’s genetics determines the proportion of slow twitch and fast twitch in a person’s muscle composition. Skinnier guys (hard gainers, ectomorphs) generally tend to have a higher proportion of slow twitch in their muscles, which explain why they have a harder time gaining mass.

What you want to achieve with your body should help you decide what type of training you need to do. If you want to gain muscle fast, you should be focusing on training exercises that trigger fast twitch muscle growth. On the flip side, if you’re looking to increase your endurance, you should be focusing on targeting slow twitch muscle growth.

There are many programs out on the market today that target muscle growth and overall strength gaining. Read the reviews of two of the most popular programs currently on the market, Mike Westerdal – Critical Bench Program review and Elliott Hulse – Lean Hybrid Muscle eBook Review.

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