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Old 11-08-2016, 04:46 AM   #1
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Default Slow twitch muscle fibers & 1RM percentages...

Hello,

I'm trying to improve my knowledge and understanding of the muscle building process and I'm yet again failing to see the logic in some "facts" that seem to contradict eachother...

There are slow twitch (type 1) and fast twitch muscle fibers (types 2A and 2B)...

Which type of fibres is activated in a lift depends on the percentage of 1RM that is being lifted...

The amount of times a certain weight can be lifted dictates which percentage of 1RM that weight represents, e.g. 6 reps = 85%, 10 reps = 75%, 20 reps = 50%...

If you train the slow twitch fibres, their endurance increases but they do not increase in size...

To activate the fast twitch fibres, at least 60% of 1RM needs to be lifted...

If all of the above is true, why does the 20 rep squat routine work? Or any 20 rep set whatsoever?
I started doing a 20 rep routine (bench, ohp and bor) at 50% of my estimated 1RM's and I am trying to progress to 20 reps at 70% - am I wasting my time?

Then there is time under tension, of which I'm told you need at least 40 seconds for a set to be productive, but in lifts with a very small ROM you need a lot of reps to get the desired TUT (30 rep shrugs for instance)...So are these high rep sets not productive either?

There must be some point that I'm missing...perhaps the activation of slow and fast twitch fibres is not an "either/or" situation and some synergy between both groups occurs?

Any help?
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Old 11-08-2016, 08:55 AM   #2
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I'd suggest waiting on some more experienced lifters to chime in, but for now, here's my 2c anyway :

In all honesty, it seems likely (to me) that a lot of people make far too much fuss about the alleged differences between higher reps and lower reps, etc., etc.

If you get stronger at doing 10 rep sets, you will be stronger in general. Same goes for getting stronger at doing singles. And so on.

Strong is strong. Like, within reason.


edit: One thing I believe science has "proven" (please tell me if I'm wrong here!) is that the "money reps" tend to be the ones towards the end of a set taken either to failure or nearly to failure, when it comes to muscle-building. This could be seen as an argument for not bothering with extremely high rep sets - I personally see it that way. Also, it's why rest-pause seems to work pretty well.
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Old 11-08-2016, 09:59 AM   #3
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Don't over think it. KISS principle bud. Hit your compound movements hard, push yourself, but diet and rest are even bigger factors than what rep scheme you decide to employ. Consistency and time is key. Keep working hard, eat, and sleep you will get bigger and stronger. That is fact. Everyone's goals and ability/desire to achieve them are different, do what works for you.
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Old 11-08-2016, 02:04 PM   #4
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Where did you read that you can only train one fiber type at a time? I've never heard that before.

Anyway, as long as you're lifting it doesn't matter. Once you've mastered the basic movements then you can start dissecting them with biology, kinesiology, physics etc.
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Old 11-08-2016, 05:10 PM   #5
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Lighter loads in the 10+ rep range train mainly slow twitch muscle fibers only. Even if taken to failure. Higher loads require that the body recruit all muscle fibers, both fast and slow twitch, to complete the lifts.

Regardless, depending on goals, its probably a few years too soon to get so caught up in all this obscure, much more advanced methodologies imo.

Squat, bench, deadlift, chin your way 1-3x5 for a couple years. Unless you plan to be a body builder I suppose training in higher reps would be less time consuming.
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Old 11-08-2016, 05:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steffie268 View Post
If all of the above is true, why does the 20 rep squat routine work? Or any 20 rep set whatsoever?
Because as a weak novice, anything works. It does not mean that it is optimal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steffie268 View Post
I started doing a 20 rep routine (bench, ohp and bor) at 50% of my estimated 1RM's and I am trying to progress to 20 reps at 70% - am I wasting my time?
IMO, yes. Again, as a novice, anything works. But if we are talking time, there are more efficient programs that have been proven over and over for many decades that will provide the best results in the shortest amount of time. However, it is difficult for people to adhere to the basic programs that work. They are hard and boring. It's more "fun" to do tricep kickbacks, cable extensions, dumbell flyes, lunges, leg presses, incline presses, decline presses, paused squats, pin squats, front squats, 1 legged squats, smith machine work, dumbell curls, preacher curls, and the huge variety of machines available at commercial gyms.

Squatting, benching, deadlifting, and pressing for a heavy set of 5, then adding weight and doing it again the next workout, is not for everyone. If it were, we'd all be big and strong.
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Old 11-08-2016, 05:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Got2Squat View Post
Because as a weak novice, anything works. It does not mean that it is optimal.



IMO, yes. Again, as a novice, anything works. But if we are talking time, there are more efficient programs that have been proven over and over for many decades that will provide the best results in the shortest amount of time. However, it is difficult for people to adhere to the basic programs that work. They are hard and boring. It's more "fun" to do tricep kickbacks, cable extensions, dumbell flyes, lunges, leg presses, incline presses, decline presses, paused squats, pin squats, front squats, 1 legged squats, smith machine work, dumbell curls, preacher curls, and the huge variety of machines available at commercial gyms.

Squatting, benching, deadlifting, and pressing for a heavy set of 5, then adding weight and doing it again the next workout, is not for everyone. If it were, we'd all be big and strong.
Thanks!
I started the 20 rep sets to challenge myself and because I want to do one "intensity" day and one "volume" day per week... When I complete my challenge (progressing from 20x 50% eRM to 20x 70% eRM) I'll pick another set/rep scheme for my volume days...
My "big 6" are the big 3 + rows, pull/chin ups and ohp...(doing the 20 rep sets only on ohp, bor and bench)...

grtz
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Old 11-09-2016, 06:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by one-X-life View Post
Where did you read that you can only train one fiber type at a time? I've never heard that before.

Anyway, as long as you're lifting it doesn't matter. Once you've mastered the basic movements then you can start dissecting them with biology, kinesiology, physics etc.
This is one of the videos that got me thinking about this matter...

The most relevant part is from around 24' to 30'...

"To significantly recruit FT fibers...60% of 1rm or 15 reps"

grtz
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Old 11-09-2016, 02:39 PM   #9
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Basically, slow twitch are fibres built for endurance (I mean endurance, like running a marathon or typing all day long on a keyboard), and fast twich are suited for sudden, "wild burst" efforts (max effort deadlift, power clean, running a sprint, throwing a punch, etc.). This is the basic layout. It's actually much more complicated than that, but the only thing I need to be aware of as a lifter is this: if I'm after maximum strength and power, I need to focus on shorter duration efforts, especially so when I'm dealing with "quick lifts" such as the power clean.

Fast twitch fibers have very good potential for size, and that's one of the big reasons you see weightlifters who are seriously jacked, even though they mainly do 1-3 reps per set and rarely stray above 6. I myself very seldom go above 6 reps, and I rarely lift below 60% of max as well. I don't even bother to train my arms directly, and they are 17.5 inches, and this mostly from low rep sets in the press and power clean. If you are starting out, you will put on size no matter how many reps you're doing, provided that you eat enough to gain weight; think "gaining moderate weight over time". If you're training consistently, you'll gain quite a bit of muscle over a couple of years' time; trust me on that one.

As for 20-rep squat programs, the last time I read such a program, it advised to start out using 60% of max, so such a program will have you doing plenty of reps at or above 60% (it will have you panting and catching your breath between reps, because this is about the most strenuous thing you can do in the gym). Some think that there is something magic about 20-rep sets. The thruth is, a lot of lifters get extremely strong without ever doing that many reps. Most often, intermediate lifters constantly go too heavy too often when they use 3-5 reps. Getting strong is linked to a lot of neurological factors, and you can enhance these by training at 60% for many sets at 5-6 reps, 70% for several triples or 80-85% for doubles. Someone starting out doesn't need percentages. Just take a weight you could do for 10 reps and do 5x5 with it; or a load you could get 6-8 reps with and try 8 sets x 3, paying attention to good form on every single rep. You will add pounds to the bar and muscle to your frame (if you eat enough to gain weight over time). Taking sets close or to failure on each and every session leads to excessive muscle fatigue (for most people) and generally impedes progress. A PR attempt has its time and place, but certainly not every session!

I hope this helped!
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Old 11-09-2016, 04:16 PM   #10
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Thanks a lot dlocas, very helpful indeed...
On most of my lifts I have a pretty good idea of what weight I can lift with strict form for 6-8 reps, so in due time I will give the 8x3 set/rep scheme a go...
For this 8x3 how much rest between sets would you recommend?
If I do this on all my major lifts, would 2 times per week be adequate, too much or too little work?

thx and grtz
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