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  1. #1
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    Slow twitch, Fast Twitch muscles

    I have been trying to do research on a theory I am working on: That different muscles respond best to different types of exersize. For example: it seems that my legs respond better to GVT type higher rep exersizes rather than HIT or Max-OT low rep/heavy weight exersizes. But my upper body, with the exception of Abs, responds better to HIT and Max-OT.

    My problem is that I cannot find which muscles are which, slow like legs are, I think, and fast. Presumably, the fast twitch respond better to low rep/heavy weight training. Anyone know which muscles are which?

    Anybody give me a push in the right direction or sort me out if I am all wet about this? My theory is that programs should be a combination of different philosophies to be most effective, a GVT/ Max-OT Hybrid so to speak.
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  2. #2
    Pump junky Charger's Avatar
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    I think?? Every muscle is made up of both, fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. It's just what your body best responds to. This is the reason for lowering the bar slow and exploding through the positive. slow for neg, fast for positive.
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  3. #3
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    I think that Charger is right about all the muscles have fast and slow twitch. That is why you can exhaust your arms and still move them, because of the different muscle fibers kicking in at different times. Each person has muscle that responds different IE: fast gainer and slow gainer, yet each of us has areas that fall into those categories. Now what you are experiencing is probably why Dave Draper says "This is a thinking mans sport", and why one workout does not work for every one. You are now working on a weigh lifter Masters degree
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    Everyone's body has different % of fast and slow twitch fibers as do different muscles in the same body . Fast twitch respond to short duration exercise that is relativey heavy . While slow twitch are more responsive to light exercise done for longer periods .
    Using that information We all want to go and do both types of exercise in order to stim. both muscle fiber types . That is a flawed response when you factor in the fact that the fast twitch muscle motor units are 5 times the size as their slow twitch counterparts .
    Not saying it is bad to work the slow fibers they are involved with cardio work and it is good to be able to take in oxygen efficiently . But the slow fibers have little to do with gaining size . That is why highly trained endurance atheletes are small compared to the powerlifter/bodybuilder types .
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  5. #5
    Member Belle's Avatar
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    I had heard that the slow twitch (type 1) fibres have less mitochondria in them, which means they only burn so much fat and then thats it. Whereas the fast twitch fibre type muscles burn more fat because they have more mitochondria in them.

    Now this theory makes sense to me because when you do marathon running you develop lots of slow twitch muscle fibres and they seem to be very thin scrawny and lean where physique is concerned. They seem to be in catabolism a whole lot of the time because their muscle tissue is used for energy---canabolize their own muscle tissue..hence the reason that they cannot bulk like a body builder.

    Looking at body builders, they seem to build the most fast twitch fibre muscle than any other sport--they bulk, and no doubt they burn fat efficiently because they are developing muscle as opposed to canabolizing it and also it is the right type of muscle to burn more fat. Another reason to avoid the cardio guys..

    *can you tell I hate cardio?*
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  6. #6
    Registered User back2it's Avatar
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    Belle where did you read that slow twitch fibers have less mitochondria .
    My information is different . Here is a quote from my personal training book .
    " Each muscle fiber type has several unique characteristics . The slow twitch fibers have many mitochondria and a high aerobic capacity and , therefore is fatigue resistant . Fast twitch fibers are divided into 2 major subgroups type 11a and type 11b . Type 11a are called fast twitch oxidative because they have more mitochondria than type 11b which is refered to as fast twitch glycolytic . However type 11a do not have the aerobic capacity of slow twitch fibers .
    The mitochondria are the site of aerobic {with oxygen}energy production . The greater # of mitochondria the greater the aerobic energy production capacity of that cell . The other 2 energy systems: {without oxygen} anaerobic glycolysis and the creatine phosphate systems are the primary source of ATP when an inadequate supply of oxygen is available to the cell to meet its energy needs .
    You may be correct about the fat burning qualities of the different fiber types but it appears it is not because of the lack of mitochodria but because of the large amount of it .
    The reference to the chapter gives credit to a study done by J.H. Bergstrom & R.C. Hullman in regards to Muscle metabolism during exercise . New York plenium press .
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    Member Belle's Avatar
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    Hi There,

    I got that info off the web here:

    http://www.brianmac.demon.co.uk/muscle.htm

    Here is an extract from that page:

    Type I Fibres
    These fibres, also called slow twitch or slow oxidative fibres, contain large amounts of myoglobin, many mitochondria and many blood capillaries . Type I fibres are red, split ATP at a slow rate, have a slow contraction velocity, very resistant to to, fatigue and have a high capacity to generate ATP by oxidative metabolic processes. Such fibres are found in large numbers in the postural muscles of the neck.

    Type II A Fibres
    These fibres, also called fast twitch or fast oxidative fibres, contain very large amounts of myoglobin, very many mitochondria and very many blood capillaries. Type II A fibres are red, have a very high capacity for generating ATP by oxidative metabolic processes, split ATP at a very rapid rate, have a fast contraction velocity and are resistant to fatigue. Such fibres are infrequently found in humans.

    Type II B Fibres
    These fibres, also called fast twitch or fast glycolytic fibres, contain a low content of myoglobin, relatively few mitochondria, relatively few blood capillaries and large amounts glycogen. Type II B fibres are white, geared to generate ATP by anaerobic metabolic processes, not able to supply skeletal muscle fibres continuously with sufficient ATP, fatigue easily, split ATP at a fast rate and have a fast contraction velocity. Such fibres are found in large numbers in the muscles of the arms.

    I'm kind of assuming from the description above that "many" and "very many" means that "very many" (as in the type II description) means a lot more than just "many" (as in the type I description). Since mitochondria are what help to transfer fat, glycogen etc into the muscle for fuel, it just seems logical to me that slow twitch fibres don't quite do this efficiently as fast twitch muscle fibres.

    I'm no expert, but I always take things literally. LOL! In fact look at the Type II B fibres--even LESS mitochondria in them than just Type 1 fibres...

    I think one of the reasons body builder manage the lower fat percentage without compromising the level of muscle is precisely because what they do at the gym is more of a slow action than running or any other cardio based exercise. In other words, they develop the type II with most mitochondria in them, and this chows down on the fat and redresses the balance. Whereas the marathon runners don't build that type of muscle they build the slow twitch type and therefore although they can burn some fat, when they are running for hours, there is a tendency for their cortisol levels to be very high for days after that and this is the type of catabolism that chows on muscle instead as well as fat--so they look extremely lean and can never bulk like a body builder can.
    Last edited by Belle; 03-08-2003 at 05:14 PM.
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  8. #8
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    That pretty much agrees with what my book said . It states that the type 11a have more than the type 11b but does not compare the type 1 and type 11a .
    Look at the chart on his page and you will find he lists high # of mitochodria for both the slow Type 1 and for the fast ype 11a fibers .
    The "very many" may be in reference to the type 11b that contain " relatively few" .
    One reason bb burn more fat is because musle requires between 75 -100 calories perday to maintain its existance . If we gain 10 lbs of muscle our metabolism bmr raises by around 800 calories per day even if we rest . The runner with less muscle has to exercise to burn fat when he/she rests the bmr is much lower than a person carrying more muscle . So the more massive person burns fat all day long while the runner or aerobics type person only burns at a high rate when they are doing the exercise . 24 hours vs 1 or 2 per day .
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  9. #9
    Member Belle's Avatar
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    That makes sense because that is what happens in cardio. You only burn fat for the time that you do it in most cases. Whereas concentrating on muscle mass alone and allowing that to grow, well to my mind it is far more productive to where we want to be which is huge where muscle is concerned, with less body fat.
    Although it takes time to gain 10 lbs of muscle, this is hampered when you mess about doing cardio inbetween workouts to my mind since cardio is a catabolic exercise, it actually depetes your muscles of glycogen--the very glycogen you need for repair and doing that after a session is to my mind "muscle suicide" really.

    When muscles are still recuping, you need the glycogen there constantly...well it speaks for itself what your doing with cardio. If the theory is correct that your supposed to rest a muscle 5-7 days to get maximum growth, then anything you do to deplete a muscle of glycogen ON those days of rest IS in effect counterproductive to it's growth and repair. So trying to grow 10 lbs of muscle is going to be harder when you mess with cardio in between. Whereas if you just concentrate on building muscle and resting-->to grow, your job is going to be much much easier and quickly achievable in a small space of time if you skip cardio inbetween workout days. I had read that a lb of muscle will burn 45 extra calories. It's one of the reasons I dropped back the cardio and trusted the theory above and tried it out. So far it has worked for me.
    Last edited by Belle; 03-08-2003 at 05:54 PM.
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    Gaining 10 lbs was just an example . It will take time for that but any mass gain is helpfull to the metabolism . I have done this a few times over the past 30 years and when I was heavy with muscle mass I could eat anything without gaining fat . I was never in contest condition mind you but I was lean .
    I will use an example . When I was about 30 I was working out religiously 4 times a week 2 hours each day , The only cardio I did was walk my dogs at a fast pace about a mile or so most days . On wednesday night on the way home from the gym I would stop and buy a 2 quart box of banana split ice cream . I would add some protein powder to it and eat the whole thing that night watching TV . I was never able to gain much weight even doing stuff like that . Crazy HUH ? Now after not working out for many years and losing alot of muscle mass I can get fatter just thinking about ice cream . That is changing however I have gained about 10 lbs since sept and have been able to drop bf % by a small amount in the same period . I haven't gone back to the ice cream diet yet LOL .
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  11. #11
    Member Belle's Avatar
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    This is what I most look forwards to. Being able to eat anything without having to run for three hours after to fight it hitting my hips. You would HAVE to do that if you had done nothing but cardio to get fit, because of course your muscle mass is so slight that as you say, it is easy to gain fat if you suddenly become inactive for a few days. However, with a good deal of muscle, just doing every day stuff and walking the dog (as you would anyway) will put paid to the odd binge.

    I'm a biscuit dunker myself... I can't wait to get back to it. I know I will go through a pack whilst watching Coronation Street, but hey who cares if I have the muscles to feed. LOL!!!!
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    Member Belle's Avatar
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    LOL! I was recently involved in a debate amongst over weight people whom said they "hated" people who were slim that could eat virtually anything without gaining weight. LOL! I could NOT convince these guys that they are their own worst enemy. That the person whom can eat whatever they like has no doubt a different metabolism altogether, and that it would be nigh on impossible for them to gain fat anyway even after a binge and that they only reason they COULD eat what they like was because they had a higher muscle to fat ratio whereas fat people don't. So consequently the more inactive they are, the more fat they gain just looking at a cream cake or a big Mac!

    I am so glad that I am heading in the right direction I tell you, but no doubt when I am sat there eating what I like, some smart fat friend is going to say something cynical and that it isn't fair that I can eat what I like and not gain weight, when in contrast if they only knew how hard I will have worked to have the pleasure of being able to do that it's just not true!
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    Originally posted by Belle
    LOL! I was recently involved in a debate amongst over weight people whom said they "hated" people who were slim that could eat virtually anything without gaining weight. LOL! I could NOT convince these guys that they are their own worst enemy. That the person whom can eat whatever they like has no doubt a different metabolism altogether, and that it would be nigh on impossible for them to gain fat anyway even after a binge and that they only reason they COULD eat what they like was because they had a higher muscle to fat ratio whereas fat people don't. So consequently the more inactive they are, the more fat they gain just looking at a cream cake or a big Mac!

    I am so glad that I am heading in the right direction I tell you, but no doubt when I am sat there eating what I like, some smart fat friend is going to say something cynical and that it isn't fair that I can eat what I like and not gain weight, when in contrast if they only knew how hard I will have worked to have the pleasure of being able to do that it's just not true!
    Invite them to watch one of your workouts . See if they think its fair then . OH yeah be sure to have a lazy-e-boy chair , loads of fried pork rinds , chips and some beer for them so they don't get to hungry while you exercise .LOL
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    LMAO!

    Too funny!
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    Re: Slow twitch, Fast Twitch muscles

    Originally posted by gbat
    I have been trying to do research on a theory I am working on: That different muscles respond best to different types of exersize. For example: it seems that my legs respond better to GVT type higher rep exersizes rather than HIT or Max-OT low rep/heavy weight exersizes. But my upper body, with the exception of Abs, responds better to HIT and Max-OT.

    My problem is that I cannot find which muscles are which, slow like legs are, I think, and fast. Presumably, the fast twitch respond better to low rep/heavy weight training. Anyone know which muscles are which?

    Anybody give me a push in the right direction or sort me out if I am all wet about this? My theory is that programs should be a combination of different philosophies to be most effective, a GVT/ Max-OT Hybrid so to speak.
    I was looking for some info on this since I posted yesterday , here is what I found so far .

    Arthur Jones was working on this kind of theory back before the bb comunity knew there were different muscle fiber types . He had determined that the best muscle stimulation occured when an exercise had depleted about 20% of a muscle's capacity to do this he had devised a computer assisted leg press and other machines for other muscle groups . First a 1 rep max was determined after resting for a period of time 80% of the 1rep max was loaded on the machine the person then did reps all the while the computer measured remaining muscle strength . When the strength level dropped to 80% the number of reps taken to get there was recorded . That was determined to be the proper # of reps for that muscle or muscle group . Some people could do only 4 reps with 80% of their 1 rep max while others could do 15 reps . He at the time did not know why there was such a discrepancy just that there was . There was a difference in different muscles in the same person .
    We now know the reason for this difference it is because different people have different percentages of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers .
    The fast twitch are the stronger ones and are larger but do not have fatique resistance the slow twitch are smaller , weaker and can work for longer periods .
    The reason one guy could only do 4 reps 80% of his 1 rep max was because he has a larger % of fast twitch fibers .These will respond in strength and size gains to less reps and most likely shorter duration high intensity routines . The person that took 15 reps to hit 80% would likely respond to higher reps and longer workouts , due to the likelyhood that He/she has a larger percentage of slow twitch fibers .
    In the test report I found the subject showed that for his lower body parts he would likely benefit from slightly higher reps than his upper body . They recommended 8-12 reps for legs{quads, hams and calves} and 6-8 for upper body{chest ,back and shoulders} while for his arms{bi's and tri's} they suggested 5-7 reps . Each muscle group needed different stimulus .
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    So my theory wasn't that far off. Did it say anything about Ab muscles? They are a mystery to me. Seems like low reps are pretty hard to get used to.

    Wasn't Arthur Jones behind the Nautilus principles?
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    Originally posted by gbat
    So my theory wasn't that far off. Did it say anything about Ab muscles? They are a mystery to me. Seems like low reps are pretty hard to get used to.

    Wasn't Arthur Jones behind the Nautilus principles?
    Jones was the founder of Nautilus . He developed the machines and later sold the company and developed the medx machines mainly for rehab but later on they made fitness equipment too . He has been called the founder of HIT . Mentzer worked for His company until they parted ways in the early 80s. You might find some info on the medx site , do a search I am not sure of the address .
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    Belle has a spectacular aura about. (+250) Belle has a spectacular aura about. (+250) Belle has a spectacular aura about. (+250) Belle has a spectacular aura about. (+250)
    Belle is offline
    I've tried doing less reps on abs too and weighted with a plate, but find it hard to still get them down any great number in reps. The heaviest plate I used was 10kg on the front of my chest and there is no way I can fit a larger one there at present.

    At the moment I do 40 reps for x3 sets on abs and would love to cut the number down somehow with weight. I don't even know if I was holding the plate right on my upper chest either at that, but there wasn't much fatigue after 15 reps really, just the plate digging into my collar bone. Pity no one could make a weighted chest type of vest that you slip on when doing crunches.
    ~*Belle*~

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