Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Don't Train all Muscles the Same


After discussing isolation exercises for arms last week, this is a good time to point out that all muscles are not the same and shouldn’t be trained the same when it comes to reps and sets for hypertrophy.

This prior article is an explanation of the different types of muscle fibers and what each type of fiber does. None of your skeletal muscles are all “Fast Twitch” (Type II) or all “Slow Twitch” (Type I). Rather, they contain both. But they are usually either “fast twitch dominant” or “slow twitch dominant”. The makeup of the muscle determines how it should be trained for optimal results when it comes to isolation exercises.

Fast twitch dominant muscles tend to respond best to lower reps.
·        Hamstrings
·        Triceps
·        Upper back
·        Biceps (Biceps actually respond best to intermediate reps)

Slow twitch dominant muscles tend to respond best to higher reps.
·        Quads
·        Pecs
·        Delts
·        Traps

Higher and lower are relative terms but since we are discussing training for hypertrophy with an optimal rep range of 9-12 reps we’ll define high and low as:

“Lower reps” as less than 10
“Higher reps” as 15-20

Just a reminder; don’t always train a muscle in the” optimal “rep range. Even if a muscle is slow twitch dominant it still contains fast twitch fibers.
Always vary your set/reps scheme, train for strength or speed or stamina periodically regardless of your primary goals.

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