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Slow Twitch, Fast Twitch and Twitchless.

 
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Old 02-07-2008, 08:43 PM
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Slow Twitch, Fast Twitch and Twitchless.

Arm or leg muscles are composed of two different types of muscle fibers. These are called slow twitch and fast twitch. In general terms, slow twitch muscles contract slowly and are relatively weak but will keep on contracting over and over again for a long time. They are used for endurance events such as hiking all day. The fast twitch muscles contract quickly and are very strong and but tire out quickly. They are good for lifting a cooler full of 200 # of elk meat into the back of your pickup.

Each of us is born with a genetic tendency toward a different percentage of slow twitch and fast twitch. In other words, if you are born with a tendency toward a high percentage of fast twitch muscles you will not be a good endurance athlete and if you were born the other way around you will never be Mr. Universe.

However, all is not lost and gone. By training you can change the percentages of each type by increasing the one you prefer for the event that is coming up. So if you were born like me you will never bench press 300 pounds but you can get up to some impressive poundages. Similarly, if you were born to be a sprinter you can do endurance training and emphasis the growth of the slow twitch muscles so that you can run a marathon but you won’t win.

So what kind of training does what. The easiest way to explain it is by using the things I know a little about (very little perhaps). If you take a 20 pound dumbbell and do 20 curls and presses every day then you build up slow twitch fibers. If you take a 40 pound dumbbell and do 5 curls and presses a day you build up fast twitch. The key is what percentage of your strength do you use and how long. Light weight but lots of repetitions are endurance while heavy weight that really strain your muscles build fast twitch fibers. A different example is running or biking where if you go slow but for a long time you will increase your slow twitch fibers but if you sprint a lot you will build fast twitch fibers.

A good example of extreme fast twitch muscles are the linemen on a football team. For about 15 seconds they exert all of their strength and then they huff and puff for about a minute and the ball is snapped again and they use all of their strength again and then they recover for the next play and this goes on for about five or six minutes and then the ball changes sides and they rest for five or six minutes.

So, if you are planning on getting in shape for hunting in mountainous terrain then you want a lot of slow twitch muscles but if you are actually planning on killing something you will need some fast twitch to put it in the truck.

Peculiarly enough, upper body strength is very important to hunting because of the weight we carry as long range hunters. Backpacks really create a lot of tiredness in your shoulders and neck. Even when you legs are not tired your shoulders and neck can be very tired and the result is you are tired. A proper fitting backpack rests on the hips but we all get sloppy with that and then we get tired.

Lack of a training program leaves you twitchless.

I know there are a number of people who know as much or more than I about this stuff and they are welcome to make any comments or corrections.
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Old 02-07-2008, 10:50 PM
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"Lack of a training program leaves you twitchless."

Is that like a 'flatline'? :(:eek:
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Old 02-08-2008, 10:18 AM
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Also a missed shot will leave you twitchless!!!

J E CUSTOM
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Old 02-08-2008, 12:37 PM
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BB is just about spot on with only a few comments being "arguable" and thats gonna happen with anything especialy training as everybody reacts differantly to differant types of stress. Some guys get stronger by lifting very heavy weight for very few reps and other will get as strong by lifting lighter weight for more moderate reps , jst gotta find out what your body needs to grow.

I have been a competive power lifter for about 15yrs now and the basic rule is that you only need to lift the weight once in 15-20 mins so that the way you need to train and it works , I have gotten very strong and pretty big off of this routine over the years but my joints have suffered from it , now I have made the transition over to body building and the training has changed completely now I do more reps (moderate 10-15) with a moderate amount of weight , basicaly a weight that i can only do that many reps with before failing. This helps build both fast and slow twitch muscle to you get some size and the definition both. Every second week I do an endurance workout working 3 body parts a day never having more than 30 seconds rest between sets ,this help keep my endurance up which is needed for MMA and police work. Also some muscles resopnd better to differant work stragities , like your calfs your calf muscle is a very fast twitch muscle this is why its easier to bounce up and down very fast for a pretty long time as the muscle actualy stores energy but if you jump up then wait 5 seconds then jump aging and keep a rythem like this you won't be able to do nearly as many reps as if you just bounce up and down because the pause is alowing the muscle to relax and lose its stored energy , the result in making very slow reps is your going to make that muscle bigger as it needs more slow twitch capibility , so long slow steady reps no matter the weight will result in bigger muscles that will allow a bigger burst of power but shorter time frame.

If I were going to advise a person to train for an mountain elk hunt I'd sugest that they put in as much time on a stair climber as they can at a rate about as fast as you would climb stairs , over the period of a few weeks your time that you can do this will probably double at least. this pace is fast enought to keep the fast twitch muscle active and make it stronger but slow enough to help recrute and build some more slow twitch muscle giving you both more strength and endurance. Its also very imprortant to keep track of your pulse both resting and while your stepping , their are many graphs than show your ideal pulse rate while both resting and working you want to keep it in the middle of the working range this will supply enough blood and oxygen to both type os muscle fiber to keep them going , get it to high and you will likely rujn out of oxygen before your muscle fatigues and to slow you will fatigue your muscles before you get winded. Fast twitch muscles are generaly smaller and use less oxygen that larger slow twitch muscles ,this is why you will see power lifters get realy winded after only doing one or two reps , they have recruted so much slow twitch muscle that they have comsumed most of the oxygen in their blood.

You diet also plays a huge role in everything , when your going to be finding your self going long periods exerting energy you will need to take in alot of protine to replace the protine that your body is pulling from its muscles for energy or you will end up with a higher lactic acid build up which is gonna make your sore and weak "fatigue" on huts that you will likley only eat 2 maybe 3 times perday its very important to pack a few protine bars to snack on while walking this will help ALOT throug the course of your hunt. A diet high in simple carbs (sugars) will result in you getting weak and tired faster than a diet with high complex carbs like wheat and grains. fats are also an important part of an endurance diet as if you non stored fat drops to fast your body will start to pull protine from the muscle before is starts burning stored fat , the result is going to be fatigue.
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Old 02-08-2008, 02:01 PM
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That was very informative. I did not know about the different oxygen requirements of fast twitch and slow twitch fibers.
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Old 02-09-2008, 12:12 AM
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Not saying so much that the slow twitch fibers need more oxygen than the fast twitch but that the slow twitch typicaly use a bit less blood thus ung less oxygen. Alos that alot of your muscles have both fast twitch and slow twitch fibers , your legs for example , I can cycle for 60 mins at a pace that kets your heart rate to say 130 BPM with the the bike set a low resistance , I'm using my slow twitch muscle fibres to make the long repiticous movements with little resistance , at 60 mins yea I'll be a little winded but not bad at all also if I measure my legs befoe and after I might gain an inch in total girth , maybe this is from the main muscle being worked - slow twitch. Now I can hit a set of heavy squats example my 3rd set is 455 lbs for 8-10 reps , this is going to use all my fast twitch and some slow twitch muscle fibers the whole thing may last 30 seconds max but at the end I'm totaly hypoxic (out of oxygen) to the point that my ears will ring somtimes and I'll get slight tunnel vision lie before you pass out and if I measure my legs before and after my squat sets (4 sets equaling 34-45reps over 10 min span) I can gain a little over 2 inches in girth. This is from the larger fast twitch muscle filling with more blood and the hypoxia is from that blood carrying more oxygen to the lgs than the brain.

Note ,I had the fast twitch and slow twitch crossed in my first post.
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:01 AM
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Quote:
455 lbs for 8-10 reps
If you had a big enough backpack you could carry both me and my elk out at once.


The main reason I started this series of posts is that a lot of people "train" and "exercise" without understanding what the end result will be and wind up trained for the wrong thing.

An interesting thing is that you mention how many years you have trained. After 20 years of smoking and doing a desk job, I quit smoking and started eating and gained weight. I then started jogging and after a year had lost no weight but could run 5 miles nonstop. I read a little about eating and exercise and the second year I began to lose weight. At the end of the third year I ran my first marathon. The thing I found and what most books say is that to get into good shape takes about three years and is a combination of exercise and life style changes.

I do not know about weights, but I know that for endurance running that the work load increase is supposed to be no more than 10% every two weeks. Now that I am approaching 60 years old that percentage seems to be no more than 10% every month. So if I run 20 miles a week then after a month I can raise that up to 22 miles per week. If I increase the intensity (speed) of the miles I run then I can not increase the mileage or else there will be down time for swollen tendons.

The worst thing is the time of relapse. Three days is the time a person can go without exercise without the muscles beginning to deteriorate. With moderate exercise you can maintain them for about two weeks before significant deterioration begins. This is a big problem for me and one I need to remedy because when I head out west I drive for 4 straight days with no exercise and then I hunt antelope for a week which is very little exercise. By the time I reach the mountains of Idaho a lot of my exercising has been voided by the lack of activity. What I am going to do this year is stop early every other day and get in a few miles of jogging so the muslces will stay tuned up.
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