Tag Archives: fast-twitch muscle fibers

Power Up Your Workout

18 Jul

plyometric_483x350_1[1]Plyometric pushups (aka, military pushups) and squat jumps are great additions to any workout because of the way they target your fast-twitch muscle fibers, leading to gains in muscle strength and size.

To perform a plyometric pushup, push yourself away from the ground with enough force so that you raise your hands off the floor between repetitions.  Try substituting this exercise for regular pushups or, for more of a challenge, perform a set of plyometric pushups immediately after a set of regular pushups.  If you’re not quite ready for ground-based plyometric pushups, try doing them with your hands on a bench (and feet on the floor) to reduce your load.

To perform a squat jump, stand with your feet slightly apart and knees aligned over your toes. Bend from the hips to lower your rear until you are in a full squat, keeping your back straight. Keep your knees aligned; don’t let them fall open. Push down with your heels and explode up into the air. Don’t let your knees hyperextend; keep them slightly bent. Go right back into a full squat when you land and repeat.  Similarly to plyometric pushups, you can substitute this exercise for regular squats or increase the intensity by doing squat jumps immediately after regular squats.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Get Stronger (here’s how)

2 Dec

LoadedBarbell[1]Everybody wants to look good, but the real benefit of strength training is… well… getting stronger.  Increasing your physical strength will serve you much better in the long term, whether you’re an athlete or not.

And, while the aesthetic result of working out is great, research shows that stronger people generally live longer (so there’s that).  Strength and functional fitness is the way to go.

Move better, function better, perform better.

Here are a few basic tips for improving your strength (with some information borrowed from our friends at ASD Performance):

Lift Heavy

Lifting heavy (90% 1RM) will improve strength by recruiting high-threshold motor units. The muscle fibers associated with these motor units have the most potential for increasing strength. However, they fatigue quickly.

Exercise Selection Matters

Maximal lifting is best applied to multi-joint exercises (e.g., squats, deadlifts, presses, and pulls). Even though the weight is heavy, your intent should be to move the weight as fast as possible. This will ensure you’re recruiting as many fast-twitch muscle fibers as possible.

Incorporate Plyometrics

Otherwise known as jump training, plyometric training involves hop- and jump-type exercises that train and develop what’s called the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC). The stretch-shortening cycle teaches the body to better utilize stored elastic energy to produce stronger and more forceful contractions. This improvement in reactive ability can also be explained by improvements in muscle-tendon stiffness. Body-weight or weighted plyometric can be utilized such as consecutive body-weight jumps over hurdles or continuous dumbbell jump squats.

Rest Longer

When bodybuilding or training for muscle growth, short rest periods are recommended between sets, such as 30-60 seconds. When training for strength, increase your rest to 2-5 minutes depending on the exercise. The loads lifted will require longer rest periods to ensure you complete the same number of reps in the subsequent sets. Your mental strength and ability to focus on the heavy set will also appreciate the longer break.

Get Your Protein

Most experts agree that active men and women should ingest 0.6-0.8 grams of protein per pound of their target body weight, daily.  Athletes and more experienced weightlifters may require more protein, as much as a gram (or more) per pound of their target body weight, daily.  Lifting heavy weight creates a lot of muscle demand.  Feed your muscles often, with lean protein from whole foods and a quality whey protein supplement.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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How to Improve Force Production

4 Feb

revwads18cut-1[1]There are many factors that affect force production (the amount of force produced in a muscle, or muscles).  Improvements in force production can optimize sport-specific skill performance, including running, jumping, throwing, and hitting/striking.

Lift Heavy

Lifting heavy weight (e.g, 65-80% 1RM) produces greater tension in the muscle which, in turn, leads to greater motor unit (neuromuscular) recruitment, which affects force production.  The number of active motor units is directly proportional to the amount of force production.  (It should also be noted that heavy lifting and explosive concentric training [see below] have the potential to activate more fast-twitch muscle fibers)

Preloading

Preloading is the tension developed in the muscle before you move the weight.  When you bench press, deadlift, or squat, you can’t move the bar off the rack or floor until sufficient force is developed in the muscle to overcome the inertia of the barbell.

Overload Eccentric Training

Use very heavy resistance (≥ 100% 1RM) to perform “negatives,” which emphasize the lowering phase/movement of a lift.  For safety reasons, it may be advisable to use a spotter (or spotters) for certain exercises, such as the bench press, to assist in returning the weight to the original (up) position.

Explosive Concentric Training

When training for explosive concentric movements — where the goal is generating velocity — use relatively light resistance.

Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises exploit the stretch-shortening cycle to generate maximum force in minimum time.  This involves “prestretching” a muscle immediately before a concentric action to enhance force production during the subsequent muscle action.

Rest

It’s important to incorporate rest days into your training regimen in order to allow muscles time to recover and repair.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

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Power Up Your Workout

31 May

plyometric_483x350_1[1]Plyometric pushups (aka, military pushups) and squat jumps are great additions to any workout because of the way they target your fast-twitch muscle fibers, leading to gains in muscle strength and size.

To perform a plyometric pushup, push yourself away from the ground with enough force so that you raise your hands off the floor between repetitions.  Try substituting this exercise for regular pushups or, for more of a challenge, perform a set of plyometric pushups immediately after a set of regular pushups.  If you’re not quite ready for ground-based plyometric pushups, try doing them with your hands on a bench (and feet on the floor) to reduce your load.

To perform a squat jump, stand with your feet slightly apart and knees aligned over your toes. Bend from the hips to lower your rear until you are in a full squat, keeping your back straight. Keep your knees aligned; don’t let them fall open. Push down with your heels and explode up into the air. Don’t let your knees hyperextend; keep them slightly bent. Go right back into a full squat when you land and repeat.  Similarly to plyometric pushups, you can substitute this exercise for regular squats or increase the intensity by doing squat jumps immediately after regular squats.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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