I read your article on Ironmag regarding the different muscle fiber types, and enjoyed it very much! How would you suggest I go about setting up my training so that I work all of my fibers?
I’m glad you liked my article. The most effective way I have found to set up a training program that hits all of the muscle fiber types is to arrange 3 week “mini-cycles” for each bodypart. Using quads as an example, this is how the routine might look…
Squats 4 x 2-4 reps
Leg Press 3 x 4-6 reps
Leg Extension 3 x 6-8 reps
Leg Extensions 3 x 8-10 reps
Hack Squats 3 x 8-10 reps
Single Legged Leg Press 2 x 10-12 reps
DROP SET : Leg Press 1 x 4-6 reps, drop weight for 3-4 reps, and again for 3-4 reps
SUPERSET : Leg Extension/Squats 1 x 6-8 reps each
SUPERSET : Leg Extension/Hack Squat 1 x 8-10 reps each
DROP SET : Leg Extensions 1 x 8-10, drop weight for 6-8 reps, and again for 6-8 reps
In this routine, the first day is a “power” day, primarily building strength by hitting the high threshhold motor units. The second day is the “hypertrophy” day, working in a rep range most effective for generating muscle growth. The third day is a “blitz” day, wherein you fully tax every type of muscle fiber, affect positive metabolic changes within the muscle cells, and test your endurance, stamina, and your ability TO HOLD DOWN YOUR LUNCH!
I have a bodybuilding competition coming up. Can I use swimming as my cardio activity?
Actually, you shouldn’t. It has been suggested by exercise physiologists that swimmers carry a heavier layer of subcutaneous bodyfat than non-swimmers because of the need to trap in body heat. Since it is a fact that the body loses heat much faster in water than in air, and the body looks to trap body heat, a thicker layer of fat will inevitably develop under the skin. This will only serve to blur muscle definition, which of course is the exact opposite of what you’re after.