Several days ago in the post of muscle fibres we told you that muscles consist of myofibrils (contractive units) and mitochondria (energy units) and that strength depends on the former and endurance on the latter. There is a question: how to train these myofibrils and mitochondria? That is a rightful question and today’s post is exactly about this. There will be less theory and more practice. If you want to achieve as much as possible you have to learn both the theory and the practice
We have already told you about four major factors of muscle growth and three of them are tied to your training and its structure.
Training myofibrils in glycolitic (Type II, white, fast) muscle fibres
We do hope that you remember about this type of fibres, so let's get right on the topic.
First, intensity of contraction (intensity in a repetion). Intensity should be more than 80% of maximum. At this level, as human physiology suggests, all muscle fibres are being involved in contraction, that is the whole muscle works.
Second, intensity of the exercise. Exercises have different intensities depending on its type and pace of the exercise.
Third, length of the exercise. Exercises should be done to failure, until muscles cannot make one more contraction beause all of its creatine is spent. It is impossible to give any examples of repetitions and time to failure since it is all individual and depends greatly on your perception.
Fourth, rest between sets. Rest should be between 5 to 10 minutes. Very important! Rest has to be active, you need to flush H+ ions from muscles, so they would not hurt muscles. Active rest allows to shorten rest period in comparison to passive rest (which can last up to 60 minutes).
Fifth, number of sets. Depending on number of sets and number of training days a week (amount of sets and days for a certain muscle only). If you do 3 sets of less then you can train a muscle practically every day. This would be a toning training. It might add something to your results. If you do from 4 to 9 sets then there should be only one session per week. It is a developing training aimed at getting results. Why should you not do more than one developing session per week? Because a myofibril takes (90% of it, the muscular part) takes up to 15 days to build and takes up to 90 days (10% of it, tendons)!
Training myofibrils in oxydative (Type I, red, slow) muscles
Oxidative muscles are a bit different from glycolic muscles. The major factors work here too but training will be different because of the large number of mitochondria, which prevent accumulation of H+ ions.
These muscles are trained in statodynamic mode, to put it simply, without relaxation. During regular exercise you start a movement from a point where muscles are relaxed and return to this point. With oxydative muscles you need to keep muscled tense and to do that you have not to return to the starting point and limit your movement thus shortening the range of movement.
Now down to the training specifics:
First, intensity of muscle contraction. ~60% of maximum
Second, intensity of exercise. ~50% of maximum
Third, duration of exercise. 30-45 seconds. This time is required to pile up enough H+ ions to cause burning sensation. Pain is an indicator of correct execution. Pain indicates that there is stimulus to release hormons.
Fourth, rest. Active rest for 5-10 minutes
Fifth, number of sets. The same as for glycolitic muscles. With 3 or less it is toning training and can be done on a daily basis. If it is from 4 to 9 then it is developing training and number of days per muscle group is limited to 1-2, since oxydative muscles are “stronger” and can sustain up to 2 developing sessions per week.
Unlike myofibrils, mitochondria need three factors for growth:
1. amino acids in the cell
2. oxygen in the cell, the more the better
3. absense of H+ ions, the fewer the better
First and second, intensity of exercise and muscle contraction. At anaerobic threshold level
Third, duration of exercise. 2-30 minutes
Fourth, rest interval. about 2 minutes
Fifth, number of sets. The more the better. It is possible to do up to 40 sets in one session. The only limit here is the amount of glycogen stored in the body. It is possible to train in that way every day.