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How to Develop Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber

by Phil Campbell - Ready, Set, Go! Synergy Fitness for Time Crunched Adults

High school athletes want powerful fast-twitch muscle fiber to make the starting lineup. Olympians want fast-muscle fiber to win the gold.

Everyone interested in dropping body fat, toning muscle, and reversing the effects of the middle-age somatopause, should have a fitness plan that includes developing fast-twitch muscle fiber.

Fast muscle fiber is necessary to perform high-intensity exercise that will release G H g.rowth hormone during workouts. And plyometric training is the champion at developing fast-twitch (IIa) muscle fiber, and it also develops the super-fast (IIx) muscle fiber.


All Ages Benefit from Plyometrics

Children can increase bone density, strength, and power through plyometric jump drills, (Jumping improves hip and lumbar spine bone mass in prepubescent children: a randomized trial, 2001, Fuchs).

Adolescent girls that participate in plyometric training increase bone density, (Effects of plyometric jump training on bone mass in adolescent girls, 2000, Witzke).

Premenopausal women maintain strength and power with plyometric training. Continued training also reduces important risk factors later in life, (Detraining reverses positive effects of exercise on the musculoskeletal system in premenopausal women, 2000, Winters).


Plyometrics may aid injury prevention

Plyometric drills may aid in the prevention of ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries. However, plyometric drills must be performed with adequate warm-up and a gradual buildup period because some drills - with lateral movements - can actually cause ACL injury if they're not performed correctly.


Plyometric drills can be performed at home

Plyometric drills typically involve jumping, skipping, and hopping, but may take many different forms. And they are performed by sets / reps similar to weightlifting.

There are many types of plyometrics. Karate kicks, in many respects, are an example of standing plyometrics. Jumping drills are plyometrics. And running with exaggerated high-knees is a plyometric drill called high-knees.

Performing the drills

The Ready Set Go Fitness plan uses standing and dynamic (moving forward) forms of plyometrics that involve quick, powerful, repeated movements of the stretch-shortening muscular cycle. The first few sets in the plyometric workout call for the traditional karate kicks - front, side and back.

Karate Front Kick

Karate Front Kick StartKarate Front Kick Raise KneeKarate Front Kick Forward Kick

         start           raise knee        forward kick

 

                                       Advanced Front Kick Karate Front Kick Advanced

 

 

 

 

Once plyometric kicks have been accomplished, it's time for the dynamic drills.

Initially, perform only one set of the dynamic plyometric drills covering 10-yards in distance.

 

Progressively build to two sets of 15-yards with a walk-back recovery in-between. These drills should only take 10-minutes initially and build to 20-minutes.


With all plyometric drills, there should be lots of leg action (jumping up and down). However, the progress forward should be equal to the speed of walking.



Butt Slaps


This drill is typically called butt slaps or butt kickers. Whatever the name, its a great developer of fast-twitch leg muscles. This drill is especially valuable for the athletes wanting to improve speed. Butt Slaps

Run forward by raising the back foot as high as possible without raising the knee as shown by trainer Mrs. LaFont.

 

Important: Keep knees pointed downward. There should be lots of leg action with the heels going (up and down). However, the progress forward should be equal to the speed of walking.

 

Scheduling Plyometric Drills


Plyometric drills are a regular part of the Synergy Fitness program beginning at Fitness Level Two. Plyometric workouts should be performed one day a week. Advanced athletes in the Fitness Level Five category have plyometric drills scheduled for two days a week.

 

Have a great day!

Phil Campbell, M.S., M.A., FACHE
Author Ready, Set, GO! Synergy Fitness

   

National Institutes of Health research cited in newsletter,
Research Summary 1
Research summary 2
Research Summary 3

NOTE: The purpose of this article is to expand thinking about fitness as an informational source for readers, and is not medical advice. Before attempting the Synergy Fitness program, the Sprint 8 Workout, or any high-intensity exercise program, consult your physician. This is not just a liability warning; it's wise to have a baseline medical exam before beginning a fitness program. Make your physician a partner in your fitness improvement plan.



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