Fast Twitch And Slow Twitch Muscles – What’s The Difference?
Understanding the key differences in fast twitch and slow twitch muscles is one of the most critical elements to making sure that the training program that you’re going to be using is properly designed to help meet your goals.
For anyone who is hoping to increase their jumping ability, boosting the fast twitch muscle fibers will be paramount as these are the fibers that essentially propel this motion.
While it’s great to have a good combination of fast twitch and slow twitch muscles for overall performance, by focusing your training in on the ones you predominately want to improve, you can see that much faster gains from each and every workout session.
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Let’s take a look at the primary factors that separate fast twitch and slow twitch muscles.
Ability To Utilize Oxygen
The very first thing that divides these two types of muscle fibers is their ability to utilize oxygen. Fast twitch muscle fibers are fibers that contract and perform pretty much without the presence of oxygen. These muscle fibers are the ones that you will be utilizing for any intense, short bouts of exercise that are being performed that would be classified as anaerobic in nature.
This essentially means ‘without oxygen’, which makes this type of exercise and these muscle fibers a perfect match.
Slow twitch muscle fibers on the other hand are ones that require oxygen in order to contact and perform so will be responsible for carrying out exercise that lasts longer than 30 seconds or so in duration.
When you cross the barrier of going to 30-60 seconds in length, then you will be most likely utilizing a combination of both fast twitch and slow twitch muscles.
Force Development Potential
Second, the next defining element of these muscle fibers is their force development potential.
With fast twitch muscles you’re going to be able to develop a very large amount of force over a very short amount of time. For that reason, if you’re looking to improve your power or jumping ability, these are the muscles to focus on.
With slow-twitch muscles, they are much slower to contract and therefore won’t develop nearly the same level of force or speed that the fast twitch muscle fibers would.
Finally, the third defining factor of these types of muscles is their fatigability. Fast twitch muscle fibers are extremely quick to fatigue, which is partially why they can only carry out exercise lasting all of 45 seconds or less in nature.
This is mostly due to the fact that they aren’t using oxygen to fuel their contractions and therefore will quickly be depleted of their high energy fuel source (ATP) upon which will require rest.
Slow twitch muscles on the other hand are slow to fatigue and will therefore be the muscles that are utilized any time you perform endurance based activities such as a 20 minute jog. When trained, they can go for hours without fatiguing, as illustrated by marathon runners.
So there you have the key differences between fast twitch and slow twitch muscles. Now that you know the differences, you should more clearly be able to see which type of training activity will target each muscle and form your fast twitch muscle training plan appropriately.
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