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Fast/Slow Twitch Switching Routine—Tex's Case Study
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Tex Offline
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Fast/Slow Twitch Switching Routine—Tex's Case Study
Last year I became determined to get fast and strong with a lot of endurance at the same damn time. I had the idea to start experimenting with alternating between a week of pure slow-twitch training and a week of pure fast-twitch training.

I didn't stick to it but now I'm determined to try it consistently and see what happens. I'll use this thread as a case study to what this kind of routine does, keep myself accountable to it, post updates on my progress, and collect ideas and studies on slow/fast twitch alteration training.

The Theory

I came up with the idea to do this on my own—and I'm sure someone else has tried it before—but I'm not familiar with any studies or literature that specifically talk about this kind of routine.

It's simple enough, so I'm sure it's out there, but right now I'm working off of very basic exercise science principles to predict a best and worst case scenario for what this program will do. In other words, it's bro science at this point and I want to test what it actually would do.

The idea works off of these basic principles:
  • Slow-twitch training is the best way to get endurance
  • Fast-twitch training is the best way to get faster and stronger
  • Doing fast and slow twitch movements in one workout is not ideal for either muscle type*

Here's the idea: Slow-twitch (type I) muscle fibers are muscle fibers that are made for endurance, have the most inherent energy, and are physically smaller than the other types. Common sense says training purely this kind of muscle will give the most gains in these kinds of fibers.

Fast-twitch (type IIb) muscle fibers are built for speed, strength, and raw explosive power. They are larger than slow-twitch fibers but burn out quickly. Again, common sense suggests purely focusing on these muscles is the best way to improve them.

There is a hybrid type of muscle fiber (the one Elliott Hulse always talks about) called Type IIa. This type is physically the largest and provides strength and power yields similar to fast-twitch fibers, but also has endurance more similar than that of slow-twitch. Athletically and functionally, this is seen as the most valuable kind of muscle fiber and it is said that through training, Type IIb fibers are transformed into Type IIa.

So if we're to do a program training only slow-twitch, it would look like high continuous reps at a low intensity. If we were to do a program training only fast-twitch, it would like a few sets at very low reps with a lot of rest and very high intensity.

But what would a Type IIa program look like, and wouldn't it be most beneficial to do a program?

According to Elliott Hulse, one of the more famous (and controversial) online fitness gurus to focus on Type IIa, he talks about doing a pure fast-twitch day but with more volume. Then he says to do the next day as a pure day of muscle building (which is low intensity, high volume, low rest and therefore closer to a slow-twitch day, but designed to create a blood pump in the muscles). Then a day of "functional strength" that is high intensity, low volume, and low rest intervals but is prolonged high intensity, doing movements like heavy farmer's carries.

What that all boils down to is an approach that breaks the week down into these three days: 1) day that focuses on fast-twitch but uses one slow-twitch factor (volume), 2) day that focuses on slow-twitch, and 3) a hybrid day that splits the factors used to train both kinds of muscle.

It seems then that a Type IIa day to Hulse is doing a high-intensity activity that can be prolonged past a simple instantaneous burst. Athletic activities like boxing, BJJ, wrestling, rugby, football, or strongman activities like tire flipping fall into this category. That's why Type IIa is seen as the athlete's most valuable muscle fiber.

You could always train exclusively Type IIa and only do strongman activities or only do sports, but there are two reasons I don't want to do that: 1) the added aesthetic benefits of targeted weight lifting are something I want to have, and 2) I want to improve my pure strength and pure low-intensity endurance beyond what only Type IIa can produce.

That means increasing my Type I, Type II, and Type IIa all at once. Hulse seems to agree, as he incorporates days that are more or less pure slow or fast-twitch days only. But he does this by switching day-by-day, hitting the same muscle groups on consecutive days with fast-twitch and slow-twitch days.

*That doesn't seem as efficient to me as having a block of time dedicated solely to fast-twitch or slow-twitch muscle growth, then allowing the body to recover and build a solid foundation of that kind of muscle before starting to break down the body and build a new kind.

No matter what kind of training you do—slow-twitch oriented or fast-twitch oriented—your body will always respond with a combination of one of these two main types plus an incidental increase in Type IIa, so it seems that you should be able to mix Type IIa with a Type IIb (or fast-twitch) routine, or mix Type IIa with Type I, but mixing Type I and Type II doesn't seem productive in my eyes.

If the cycle of fast vs. slow training is long enough, then one could build pure fast twitch, then pure slow twitch, plus incidental transformations of Type IIb to Type IIa along the way.

And if the cycle was short enough, these could be done concurrently with minimal loss to either type. So, if I didn't touch my Type IIb fibers doing a Type I cycle, yet the Type I cycle was short enough to let me see Type I gains without slowing down my Type IIb gains, I could hypothetically make huge leaps in building Type I fibers (similar to if I were only training that), but making similar leaps in Type IIb fibers and Type IIa fibers as well. Muscle mass, pure strength, pure endurance, and athletic strength and endurance would all increase at the most optimal rates.

That is the goal of this program—have a week of pure Type I, rest long enough to build a solid mass of Type I fibers, have a week of pure Type IIb, then have intervening Type IIa workouts in both that would neither disturb the pure Type I/Type IIb gains and also stimulate extra Type IIa growth.

Now what will actually happen?

Best Case
If it works, one would grow slow twitch muscles at the same rate as fast twitch, getting both stronger and faster at the same time.

Since your body is also continuously getting shocked, plateaus would in theory be a lot harder to come across.

This would mean more consistent gains, more raw strength, more pure endurance, and greater cross-over of endurance at moderate intensity/athletic situations. And it would mean strength gains more similar to a raw powerlifter than an athlete and much more endurance than an athlete who only lifts heavy.

Worst Case
I confuse my body's response to the training I'm doing and end up stunting all my gains or become overtrained. Or I simply get weaker/plateau because I work everything yet have too long of a break of from any one thing to see those gains in Type I, Type IIb, or Type IIa.

The Program

A Week (Type I)
Monday (Type IIa Day)
Morning
Abs

Afternoon
Boxing Heavy Bag & Sparring 30 min. (Opt.)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 2 Hours (Hard)

Tuesday
Morning
Warm-Up
  • 50x Bodyweight Squats
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Forward
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Backward
Lower
  • 3x15 80 lb. Kettle Bell Front Squats
  • 3x20 Bridges w/ 2x30 lb. Chains
  • 2x1 min. Wall Sits w/ 80 lb. Kettle Bell
Upper
  • 3x10 Clapping Push-Ups to 2x Aztec Push-Ups to 3x Push-Ups (15x Total)
  • 21's Pull-Ups
  • 21's Chin-Ups
  • 3x20 Military Press w/ 2x 30 lb. Chains
Afternoon
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 2 Hours (Light, Instruction Only, No Free Rolling)

Wednesday
Morning
Abs

Afternoon
Boxing Heavy Bag & Sparring 30 min. (Opt.)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 2 Hours (Hard)

Thursday
Morning
Warm-Up
  • 50x Bodyweight Squats
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Forward
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Backward
Lower
  • 10x Kettle Bell Farmer's Carries (40 yards) w/ 2x 80 lb. Kettle Bells & 30 lb. Chains
  • 3x20 Bridges w/ 2x 30 lb. Chains
  • 2x1 min. Wall Sits w/ 80 lb. Kettle Bell
Upper
  • 3x10 Clapping Push-Ups to 2x Aztec Push-Ups to 3x Push-Ups (15x Total)
  • 21's Pull-Ups
  • 21's Chin-Ups
  • 2x1 min. Forward Small Arm Circles
  • 2x1 min. Backward Small Arm Circles
Friday
Morning
Warm-Up
  • 50x Bodyweight Squats
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Forward
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Backward
Lower
  • 10x Kettle Bell Farmer's Carries (40 yards) w/ 2x 80 lb. Kettle Bells & 30 lb. Chains
  • 3x15 80 lb. Kettle Bell Front Squats
  • 3x20 Chains Deadlifts w/ 2x 30 lb. Chains (Each Arm)
Upper
  • 2x1 min. Forward Small Arm Circles
  • 2x1 min. Forward Small Arm Circles
  • 3x20 Military Press w/ 2x 30 lb. Chains
Saturday/Sunday
Abs
Calves
  • 3x21s w/ 2x 80 lb. Kettle Bells
  • 21s One-Leg (Bodyweight Only)

B Week Type II
Monday (Type IIa Day)
Morning
Abs

Afternoon
Boxing Heavy Bag & Sparring 30 min. (Opt.)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 2 Hours (Hard)

Tuesday
Morning
Warm-Up
  • 50x Bodyweight Squats
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Forward
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Backward
Lower
  • 3x3 Pistol Squats wearing 30 lb. Chains
  • 3x3 80 lb. Kettle Bell Clean (Each Arm)
  • 3x5 Suitcase Deadlifts 2x80 lb. Kettle Bells w/ 30 lb. Chains
Upper
  • 3x3 One-Handed Push-Ups
  • 3x5 Pull-Ups wearing 2x30 lb. Chains
  • 5x5 OHP an 80 lb. Kettle Bell
Afternoon
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 2 Hours (Light, Instruction Only, No Free Rolling)

Wednesday (Type IIa Day)
Morning
Abs

Afternoon
Boxing Heavy Bag & Sparring 30 min. (Opt.)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu 2 Hours (Hard)

Thursday
Morning or Afternoon
Warm-Up
  • 50x Bodyweight Squats
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Forward
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Backward
Lower
  • 3x3 One-Leg Bridges w/ 2x 80lb. Kettle Bells on Stomach
  • 3x3 80 lb. Kettle Bell Clean (Each Arm)
  • 3x5 Suitcase Deadlifts 2x80 lb. Kettle Bells w/ 30 lb. Chains
Upper
  • 3x3 One-Handed Push-Ups
  • 3x5 Pull-Ups wearing 2x30 lb. Chains
  • 5x5 Towel-Grip Curl 80 lb. Kettle Bell
Friday
Morning or Afternoon
Warm-Up
  • 50x Bodyweight Squats
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Forward
  • 50x Big Arm Circles Backward
Lower
  • 3x3 One-Leg Bridges w/ 2x 80lb. Kettle Bells on Stomach
  • 3x3 Pistol Squats wearing 30 lb. Chains
Upper
  • 5x5 OHP an 80 lb. Kettle Bell
  • 5x5 Towel-Grip Curl 80 lb. Kettle Bell
Saturday/Sunday
Morning or Afternoon
Abs

Calves
  • 3x21s w/ 2x 80 lb. Kettle Bells
  • 21s One-Leg (Bodyweight Only)

I'll keep this thread updated with my progress every week and see how I feel, and what my gains end up looking like. I plan to be on this for the next 9-10 weeks.

Notes
Why are the weights the amounts they are?
I work with the equipment I have at home and structure my program so I can use what I have. I have two 80 lb. kettle bells, two 30 lb. chains, and a headband-style neck weight that is 10 lb. I also have access to a pull-up bar and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym that also has heavy bags. That's more than enough for now. When I start to outgrow these things, I'll replace them.

Are the abs and calves the same for both weeks?
Yes. I won't be switching for Type I/Type II for my abs or calves. I've been lazy for the last few months on abs and I'm starting my old ab routine again. That will be my control for this experiment—if I gain on abs as I normally do, that'll mean there isn't any overall overtraining or stalling of overall strength gains.

PapayaTapper Wrote:you seem to have a penchant for sticking your dick in high drama retarded trash.
(This post was last modified: 02-12-2017 03:45 AM by Tex.)
02-12-2017 03:28 AM
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Tex Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Fast/Slow Twitch Switching Routine—Tex's Case Study
Some more notes and edits as I start the first day:

1. Wednesdays and Thursdays can be swapped.
2. Tuesday BJJ days are actually 1 hour.
3. My abs routine looks like this:
  • 200x Crunches
  • 30x Plank Crunches
  • 30x Lying Pulsators
  • 10x Kneeling Ab Wheel
  • Short Rest
  • 1 min. Lying 6" Leg Raise Static Hold
  • 30x Plank Crunches
  • 30x Lying Pulsators
  • 10x Kneeling Ab Wheel
  • Short Rest
  • 10x Weighted Lying Neck Flexions (10-Count Negatives on Down Rep)
  • 25x Side Crunches
  • 10x 80 lb. Kettle Bell Standing Side Bends
  • 30x Standing Side Bends Holding 2x 30 lb. Chains
  • Short Rest
  • 5x Standing Ab Wheel 5-Count Negatives
  • 5x Kneeling Ab Wheel w/ 2x 30 lb. Chains
  • 10x 4-Count Lying Neck Flexions
  • 30 sec. Wrestler's Bridge Hold
  • 20x Shrugs 2x 80 lb. Kettle Bells

PapayaTapper Wrote:you seem to have a penchant for sticking your dick in high drama retarded trash.
(This post was last modified: 02-13-2017 12:23 PM by Tex.)
02-13-2017 12:17 PM
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Steelex Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Fast/Slow Twitch Switching Routine—Tex's Case Study
Well you basically engineered a program to work with what you have. Everything looks like a nail when you only have a hammer.

Muscular endurance (read: muscular, not cardiovascular) is a trait derived from strength. In English, it's easier for you to do something for a long time when it represents a small fraction of your available strength.

I'm not into BJJ, but I would assume it's easier to push a guy around on the mat, pick him up, throw him, ect, if you're a lot stronger than he is. You can probably do it for longer too, because it's relatively easier.

It would seem to make sense that getting your squat up to 405, and doing some HIIT cardio would go a lot further than trying to develope individual muscle fibers using really light weights.
(This post was last modified: 02-13-2017 02:58 PM by Steelex.)
02-13-2017 02:57 PM
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Tex Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Fast/Slow Twitch Switching Routine—Tex's Case Study
I'm working in a slow twitch/fast twitch framework to test if I can maximize gains in strength and then endurance. They have overlap, but current understanding of exercise science is that there are different fibers that do different things best (endurance vs. strength) and training for one fiber exclusively leads to best results for that trait. I explain that and the reason I'm not doing a mixed routine like HIIT + heavy lifting above.

As for the equipment, I bought the least equipment for the most mileage as a minimalist home gym, but still more than enough for my strength.

When I outgrow what I have I will work with the weights at my BJJ gym, but right now I don't need to. I only have a hammer because there really are only nails so far. Smile

PapayaTapper Wrote:you seem to have a penchant for sticking your dick in high drama retarded trash.
02-13-2017 04:23 PM
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Tex Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Fast/Slow Twitch Switching Routine—Tex's Case Study
I'm on the beginning of week 3 and I feel great. I've done every day of the program except I haven't done a day of abs yet and I skipped a day of BJJ last week.

I've also had to change a couple things. The Friday for A Week shouldn't have the deadlifts, and from here on out I'll start doing 120 lb. pseudo-pistol squats per leg instead of 30 lb. pistol squats.

Yesterday (did Tuesday/A Week since I'll do BJJ today) I added two reps to the first two lifts on legs, did clapping push-ups instead of normal push-ups for the last three reps, and added an extra full rep to the end of the 21's pull-ups.

Even though I haven't touched abs yet, my abs look more defined and fuller. Delts are noticeably bigger. Calves look more full.

Lots of gains already and no sense of overtraining. Feel good so far.

PapayaTapper Wrote:you seem to have a penchant for sticking your dick in high drama retarded trash.
02-28-2017 11:47 AM
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alexdagr81 Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Fast/Slow Twitch Switching Routine—Tex's Case Study
TBH a man shouldn't be able to grow his slow twitch as quickly as his fast twitch fibers. Fast twitch fibers are more sensitive to testosterone than slow twitch: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25387260. Then there's also the ratios between different muscles: compare the white meat upper body of a chicken (fast twitch dominant) vs. the dark lower body (slow twitch dominant). It would be better to emphasize reps based on the composition. If you are trying to gain more endurance, I would throw in conditioning work for heart and lung capacity, keep body fat low (for better relative strength), and not gain too much weight.

Trying to find athletes that strike that balance between strength and endurance you have basketball players and 400m sprinters.
03-02-2017 08:48 PM
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Tex Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Fast/Slow Twitch Switching Routine—Tex's Case Study
^ The goal isn't to have a an equal ratio of slow and fast twitch, the goal is to gain slow and fast twitch at the most optimal rates for both. In other words, to get as much of both as possible at the same time.

So I don't see your point about not being able to grow both at the same rate, because that's not the goal. Unless you're saying the rest periods between each week are too short for one to recover but not the other. That would be something to look into, but the study you posted doesn't give any guidance on that because the study isn't on recovery, but rather normal muscle output and mass increases from testosterone supplementation.

I don't see the composition point, unless you're saying I should do *slow twitch training only* if I'm mostly slow twitch, etc.

I don't see the point about testosterone affecting different fibers differently.

And athletes that try to strike a balance between strength, power and muscular endurance includes every contact athlete, so I don't understand that point either.

PapayaTapper Wrote:you seem to have a penchant for sticking your dick in high drama retarded trash.
03-02-2017 10:43 PM
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ScrapperTL Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Fast/Slow Twitch Switching Routine—Tex's Case Study
Awesome dedication to detail, personal effort and hopefully follow through.

Routine = Habit
Habit = Success

Your training style is very similar to mine
I do 30 minutes of Heavy Bag work 6 to 7 days a week
and about 4 to 5 hours a week of BJJ split over 5 to 6 days.
Also I try to get in 3 days a week of 80% bodyweight and 20% barbell resistance exercises.
10 minutes of Yoga every night before bed.

All in all I'm getting about 9 to 10 hours of solid exercise per week.

Everything looks great, I'm impressed!
My only suggestion would be to add a little bit of stretching and/or yoga into the Routine.

The 10 minutes of yoga before bed has made a significant impact in my quality of life.
I use to do a lot more but I noticed diminishing returns compared to the time invested.
10 minutes a day works great for me personally.
03-03-2017 02:08 PM
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