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How to Quickly Gain Fast Twitch Muscles
Skeletal muscle is made up of two types of fibers: slow-twitch and fast-twitch. A particular muscle group may contain both bundles of different types of fibers, which work to contract your muscles at different times depending on the activity being performed. Fast muscles activate in performance movements involving rapid but short bursts of muscle energy, such as sprinting or lifting heavy weights for low reps.
Generally, you are born with a specific amount of each type of fiber in different muscle groups. You are less likely to successfully develop larger bundles of slow-twitch fibers, which are used for endurance activities. However, you have the opportunity to train and gain fast twitch muscles. If you’re predisposed to a higher percentage of the fast-twitch variety, it’s especially important to work them regularly to support and boost continued performance and growth.
When it comes to building muscle, most people aim to pump arms and structure visually appealing striated muscle groups. Most of the activities used to do this involve fast-twitch muscles. There are two types, generally referred to as type IIa, or fast oxidant, and type IIb, or fast glycolytic. Muscles generally use fast oxidation before fast glycolysis because it is more efficient in most tasks performed using this group of fibers. However, serious athletes and bodybuilders tap into fast twitch fibers longer than the average person who stays in shape, which helps boost fast glycolytic fibers as well as oxidative fibers. The advantage of using both forms of fast twitch muscle fibers is the optimization of strength, muscle gain and longevity as well as the ability to continue progress in perfecting the physique. The first rule to achieve them is therefore consistent training.
Tips for Gaining Fast Twitch Fibers
Add speed endurance exercises to your weekly training schedule. According to a 2010 publication in the “Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports”, athletes who typically participate in intense exercise of short duration may also benefit from adding speed endurance sessions to training programs to improve the adaptation of muscle fibers and physiological changes.
Jump on the treadmill for a brisk 20-minute walk, then pick up the speed and run for five to 10 minutes or simulate the same activity on a track. Add an activity similar to this once a week on non-weight training days. Fast-twitch muscles engage quickly when you add speed to your physical activity.
Perform fast and powerful movements, or plyometric exercises. This type of exercise method really engages the fast twitch fibers because it forces you to move in a way that your body isn’t necessarily used to, especially if you’re a bodybuilder. Your muscles are forced to contract rapidly during this type of training, which improves overall muscle power. A simple way to think about it is to add a jump at the end of each movement but in quick succession. Take your common unweighted squat or lunge reps and jump off the floor each time you come out of the movement. Make the squat or lunge a progression movement instead of a gradual up and down. Engage your arms during the movement, pumping them up and down to engage the fast-twitch muscles in your upper body.
Skipping or simulated skipping, like plyometrics, is also a beneficial exercise for training fast-twitch muscles. Include plyometric-type activity in one workout per week, but don’t add weight unless you can ensure physical fitness to avoid injury.
Turn a strength training session into a low-load, high-volume activity. This allows you to pump weights faster to stimulate fast twitch fibers. For quick, optimal, yet safe results, implement targeted, fast-twitch movements during strength training no more than twice a week. Include other types of targeted exercises two or three times a week to avoid overdoing the activities. As with any new bodybuilding exercise, you want to train for best results in moderation, not go all out and cause accidental regression.
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