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Training Muscle Fiber Types

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Rep ranges are a funny thing. Lots of people talk about doing this many reps for this many sets but really have no idea why they are doing that particular number or the effect it will have on their bodies.

Generally, lower repetitions like 3-8 are most productive for creating absolute strength. Repetitions in the medium range like 10-20 produce anaerobic strength endurance. The higher rep ranges between 20-40 produce aerobic strength endurance.

The reason for such varied ranges even within a category of rep range is because people will take varying amounts of time to complete the rep. We know that it is not the actual number of reps but the time that the muscle is under tension that really causes the adaptive response. So if you do 4 reps that take 6 seconds each and I do 6 reps that take 4 seconds each, we have both worked in the 3-8 range and caused that adaptation response that would be caused by putting a muscle under 24 seconds of tension.

Now on to fiber types. There are actually 3 major types of muscle fibers in the body that we are concerned with. Type 1, type 2a and type 2b. Some people have natural tendencies to do well at certain activities more so than others and this is because of the ratio of one muscle fiber type to another, among other things. Type 1 muscle fibers (or slow twitch muscle fibers, sometimes called red) are your endurance muscle fibers because they are very resistant to fatigue and injuries. The sad part is that their ability to produce power is very low also.

Type 2a muscle fibers (fast twitch muscle fibers in intermediate – sometimes called white) are much larger and stronger than type 1 muscle fibers. These fibers have a high capacity for glycolytic activity and can produce high force output for longer periods of time.

Type 2b muscle fibers are the extreme end of the power scale. These are the survival fibers. The whole purpose for 2b muscle fibers is to allow enough power and strength to survive emergency situations. Sixteen percent of an inactive person body is 2b fibers. Now even though these fibers are powerful, they have no resistance to fatigue or injury. The fact of the matter is that if and when you need to use these guys, most untrained people will damage that tissue beyond repair.

Now I’ve said all that to say this. Research has shown that it is the white muscle fibers, the type 2a, and 2b that give the greatest returns in size and strength when trained. These white muscle fibers are for high force output, that means lots of calories burned along with a tissue that requires a lot of calories to stay alive.

So what about the red muscle fibers, the type 1? Well, your body becomes efficient at what it is needed for. So if all you do is only cardio and other high rep activities, your body is going to favor the development of type 1 muscle fibers and in the end rob you of your ability to achieve your maximum strength, size, and power. What if strength, size, and power are not your goals? Well not having at least some of those attributes will result in a suppressed metabolic rate. That means you will not burn as many calories in a day. This means that if you are on a weight loss program, you need to work the type 2a muscle fibers in the 10-12 rep range in order to boost your metabolism and stay strong and healthy.

Now the body can only handle increasing levels of stimulus in a particular area for a given amount of time. This is why in good programs you will find several totally different workouts, each stressing a different muscle fiber type for a given period of time. An individualized program has the majority of the workout time spent in the phase that best effects the goal that is trying to be achieved.

Workout Wednesday

Heather Marsh’s Workout Wednesday: Cardio & Core Circuit

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Heather Marsh has one of the most beautiful and inspiring physiques in the fitness industry. She’s a mother, a WBFF Pro Competitor and she shares her secrets on cardio & core circuit.

Related Article: Jade Atkinson’s Workout Wednesday: Lower Body Workout

A strong core is a key to warding off back pain and keeping good posture. A good strong posture keeps you standing tall and confident! Try this cardio and core circuit if you’re short on time. You’ll be sure to get your heart rate up while building a strong core.

Heather Marsh’s Cardio & Core Circuit Workout

Interval 1:
Plank jacks 20
Supermans 20
Side planks 20 secs
Jump squats 20

Interval 2:
Jump squats 20
Mountain climbers 20 per leg
Dumbbell Russian twist 20 per side
Lateral squatted walks 20 per leg

Interval 3:
Lateral squatted walks 20 per leg
Plank toe taps 20 per leg
Scissor kicks 20 per leg
Frog hops 20

Repeat each interval 3-4 times

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Health & Fitness

7 Reasons Why Your Muscles Stop Growing. How To Get Muscle To Grow Again

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Photo by Ludwig Araujo Photography

Have ever wondered why your muscles stopped growing after a few months of training even though you are training very hard? Here are 7 reasons why your muscles stopped growing and how to get your muscle to grow again.

Also: Jade Atkinson’s Workout Wednesday: Lower Body Workout

– You are training too hard: Every time when rain your muscles intensely, you are actually breaking down your muscles. So your muscles need to recover from the damages you inflicted on them. So train each muscle group only once or at most twice a week.

– You are training too long: Keep your workout intense but do not workout more than an hour each time. After 45 minutes of intensive training, your cortisol level will increase. This hormone is known to destroy muscle cells.

– You are sleeping too little: You need to sleep more for good muscle growth. Your muscles grow when you sleep. So sleep more than 8 hours a day and watch those muscles growing fast.

– You are abusing alcohol: Alcohol is known to break down muscle mass plus many other body destruction ability.

– You do not change your workout routine: You must change your workout routine every 6-8 weeks. Your muscles adapt to your routine and stops growing.

– You do not progressively overload your muscles: You must try to increase your reps or weight every time you next train a particular muscle group. Otherwise, there is no reason for your muscles to grow.

– You do not eat sufficient protein: If you want to build bigger muscles, you must eat more protein. Protein is the building block for your muscles. It is recommended that you need 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight equivalent. If not enough protein is consumed with your normal diet, do supplement with protein shakes.

There you are, the 7 reasons why your muscles stopped growing even though you are training hard. There are many more methods on how to grow your muscles bigger but these 7 reasons and how to overcome them will be sufficient for an average bodybuilding beginner.

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Workout Wednesday

Jade Atkinson’s Workout Wednesday: Lower Body Workout

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Jade Atkinson has one of the most beautiful and inspiring physiques in the fitness industry. She’s an IFBB Bikini Pro Competitor and Fitness Gurls Athlete and she shares her secrets on how to get gorgeous glutes and legs this session.

Relatied Article: Moving From Beginner To Intermediate Level Bodybuilding

Strengthening your lower body is more complex than doing a few Squats. You must train all of your lower-body muscles, including your quads, glutes and hamstrings, along with the smaller muscles that help move and stabilize your legs in every direction.


It’ll be sure to make your booty pump 🍑

Jade Atkinson’s Lower Body Workout

4×15
Low cable straight leg kickbacks feet turned out
BB Same Leg Front Lunge

4×15
(increasing weight but NOT decreasing reps)
Horizontal Single Leg Press (side ways on machine)
Machine Bent Over High Glute kickbacks

4×15
All on Smith machine
Reverse Lunge w Knee Drive
Diamond Squats

Wide Squats
4 Sets
Legs extensions x20,15,12,12
DB Walking Lunges x50

4×15
Abductor – GLUTES raised
Adductor

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