Jump Training and Fast Twitch Muscles Part 1
By Richard Stephen
What's going on guys, welcome back with me Alan from berzingues.over-blog.com. If you have taken more than a casual look into vertical jump training you have no doubt heard the term fast twitch muscle fibers. The basic theory is that people with great vertical jumps have a higher percentage of fast twitch muscle fibers than those that don't. For whatever reason, nature has blessed great leapers in this way.
When you see someone with great hops, it is normal to assume they were born that way. However, it is just as likely that you just weren't around to see them doing the requisite training to get those hops. So if you weren't so lucky as to be born a great leaper, don't give up hope. There are ways to train the fast twitch muscle fibers you do have. But first, let's get a little background on the different types of muscle fibers and their roles in jumping.
Basic Muscle Types
First are the Type I or slow twitch fibers. As their name implies, these fibers are slow to contract. They also have the ability to remain contracted for long periods of time. This suits them perfectly for endurance types of events, but unfortunately they don't produce the kind of slow-lived explosive contractions that jumping requires.
Next are the Type IIa fast twitch fibers. These are indeed fast twitch fibers because they contract faster than slow twitch fibers. They also produce more force, but fatigue more quickly than slow twitch fibers. However, they don't contract as quickly nor as forcibly as do the Type IIb fibers discussed below.
Third are the Type IIb fast twitch fibers. They contract more quickly than Type I and Type IIa fiber and also generate more power. They also fatigue the mostly quickly of the 3 types. Type IIb fibers have the characteristics most suited to leaping; a strong burst of power over a short period of time. These are the fibers you body calls on primarily for jumping with, to a lesser extent, the help of the Type IIa fibers. Thus, the Type IIb fibers are the kind your vertical jump training should focus on.
Training Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers
There are differing schools of thought on the optimal way to train fast twitch muscle fibers. It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss them all or specific exercises. However, the general consensus is that a combination of strength training (weights), speed training and flexibility training provides for optimal results. If you include the following components in your training routine, you will be certain to stimulate your fast twitch muscles fibers to contract more quickly and more powerfully helping you to become a more explosive leaper.