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May 12, 2021

Muscle Fiber Types and Genetic Potential

muscle fibers and genetic potential with annie miller

Everyone does not start out with the same genetic potential.

We each have our own, predetermined at birth. But that doesn’t mean you can’t max out your own genetic potential, or use it to your advantage. We can all push within our own natural capacity.

To start off, you need to understand that you are not a robot. And neither are your muscles. Your skeletal muscle has two types of muscle fibers and they all live together in bunches called fascicles.

(swipe for knowledge + my muscular changes via different training methods).

Muscle Fiber Types:

Type 1 – slow twitch, high oxidative capacity (endurance), low fatigue rate, low power output, smallest in size.

Type 2a – fast twitch, medium size, oxidative capacity, power production, fatigue. She can do both.

Type 2b – fastest twitch, low oxidative capacity, high power output, high fatigue rate, largest in size.These are recruited in dominance from type 1 to type 2b.

Some people have predominantly more of one type of muscle fiber. Natural power/strength athlete vs endurance athlete. We can also favor these muscle fiber types via our training, right?

The endurance athlete is likely not training for power output and resting three minutes between sets (if lifting weights at all). They’re training likely favors the type 1 fibers. But keep in mind you’re not using ONE fiber type at a time.

Remember the progression by which they are recruited. To build muscle, we need mechanical tension. The more muscle fibers you can get under tension, the better. This is the main factor in growing muscle. And muscle determines the capacity for strength development. More muscle = more potential for strength.

Also worth noting – heavy eccentrics and power exercises like olympic lifts and plyometrics can expedite the recruitment of type 2b fibers. They also fatigue the quickest, so I typically program these at the beginning of a lifting session, then strength, then isolation.

Makes sense? Makes sense. Go lift some weights kids.

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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