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Speed is the key to power!

Updated on March 30, 2010

The laws of physics...

... Brought into sports. Mass x Speed= Many people don't understand the significance of this physical equation, at least not where sports are concerned. Sure, much of what is done by professional athletes revolves around such. Sorry, folks, the smarter athletes are those that usually take first place (outside the genetic freaks and the juice-heads [though I've bested the juicers before]). In my opinion, steroids only have a place in professional sports. It is also my opinion that if you are NOT a professional, yet you juice, you ARE an impotent chump (hear that, Rich Ga***ri? Still juicing AND look awful! CHUMP!).

The significance goes far beyond physics, though. When you consider the two types of muscle, fast twitch (white fiber or type IIa, IIb- though differences exist) {I will go into the major physiological differences}, and slow twitch (red or type I {1}), and their roles, as well as the fuel they use, how they're trained, this becomes as complex as physics.

In these capsules, I will also discuss neurological training, though that will revolve only around the fast twitch; for the sake of the articles focus, as well as practicality. Essentially, slow twitch muscles are not as "neurologically trainable" as fast twitch. Only brief comparison reference will be used here. As I usually like to do, I'll divide everything into poorly organized, erratic articles and concepts; often forgetting that I've said something before.

The significance of T IIa and T IIb fibers is nearly as vast. These are intermediate fast twitch muscle fibers. That means they are capable of both aerobic AND anaerobic respiration (metabolism) (present oxygen and not)-- meaning any type of caloric energy can be used. This means a discussion of nutrition will take place somewhere in the myriad of capsules that I have planned here.

I like to think of IIb (2b) muscles as "strength" muscles. I do this because there really are many practical realms of muscle contraction. Power IS speed. Endurance is prolonged ability to contract. Strength, to me, lies between the two.

Skeletal muscle is made up of bundles of individual muscle fibers called myocytes. Each myocyte contains many myofibrils, which are strands of proteins (actin and myosin) that can grab on to each other and pull. The rate of pull is one of the factors that differentiates them.

The age old question is; whether or not different training can change your natural ratio of 1:2 fibers. This is still not completely understood (and if anyone knows of a conclusive study, please message me through here!). What we do know is fast twitch response can be improved via neurological exercise. This is speed training.

There is some evidence that the ratio of fibers can be influenced, but nothing that anyone is willing to commit peer review to. On that note, some research that hasn't received peer review can be useful, but should be scrutinized. Most times, peer review means fact (as much as our understanding of the human body can be factual). One of the first organized systems of speed training is plyometrics. Since plyometrics has been discussed to death, and some of what I'll speak of here encompasses the idea, I'll merely provide an external link.

Below is a fairly decent article, abstract only. If it doesn't appear as a link, copy and paste it to your address bar.

An understanding of kinesiology, neuroscience, as well as nutrition science is needed to apply the techniques that I'll discuss. I will give overviews in relatively easy to understand language on most occasions. Some subject matter just pains me to discuss again (as I've done it so often), so I'll find articles written for the semi-layperson to explain. I'd love to write an introductory thesis on this, but I'm doing this for FUN! No one is paying me for this. I have no Adsense, nor any other affiliate program (though I did at one time). I scrapped them all in the interest of teaching.

I'll move on to more capsules that center their attention on singular subject matter. The mind (from a neurological and disciplinary standpoint), as well as the physiology, nutrition, and anything else I friggin think of while I'm writing!


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    • Chris Fry profile image

      Chris Fry 

      7 years ago from Cardiff, Wales (UK)

      Within this article you question the ability to change a slow twitch muscle fibre to a fast twitch and ask for help. Muscle fibre % is largely determined by genetics, although it is possible to change muscle fibre types, largely by increasing the neuromuscular overloading of the muscles, however adaptations depend upon age, training stimulus, recovery.

      Changes in the metabolic properties of muscle fibres and more frequent than changes in fibre morphology, for example with more frequent neuromuscular activity increases in mitochondria and aerobic-oxidative potential occur (Pette, 2002). However frequent training induced stimulation will eventually alter the muscle architecture.

      Type 2b can be though of as the 'default' gene (Goldspink et al, 1991), and thus with frequent rest/detraining, or a training program consisting of short duration work and lots of rest (such as a sprinter), 2a fibres will 'convert' to 2b. The best examples of this change in muscle fibre is in spinal cord injured patients, for example Burnham et al. (1997).

      Conversely, the most frequent change in muscle fibres following a resistance program is changes of 2b to 2a (Campos et al., 2002). This seems odd, as it is well known that 2b present the fastest contractile speed, however it appears that 2b are 'held in reserve' as they are used the least frequently (Staron, 1997) and that 2a is the preferred muscle fibre for weight training. However although the positive change in fibre type following weight training from 2b to 2a is well documented, changes from type 1 to type 2a do not occur (Harber et al., 2004).

      For a more intensive review of the literature see Fry's (2004) paper.


      Burnham, R., Martin, T., Stein, R., Bell, G., MacLean, I. and Steadward, R. (1997) Skeletal muscle fibre type transformation following spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord, 35(2): 86-91.

      Campos, G. E. R., Luecke, T. J., Wendeln, H. K. (2002). Muscular adaptations in response to three different resistance-training regimens: specificity of repetition maximum training zones. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 88: 50-60.

      Fry, A. C. (2004). The role of resistance exercise intensity on muscle fibre adaptations. Sports Medicine, 34(10): 663-679.

      Goldspink, G., Scutt, A., Martindale, J., Turay, L. and Gerlach, G. F. (1991). Stretch and force generation induce rapid hypertrophy and myosin isoform gene switching in adult skeletal muscle. Biochem Soc Trans, 19(2): 368-373.

      Harber, M. P., Fry, A. C., Rubin, M. R. Skeletal muscle and hormonal adaptations to circuit weight training in untrained men. Scandanavian Journall of Medicine and Science in Sports, 14(3): 176-185.

      Pette, D. (2002). The adaptive potential of skeletal muscle fibres. Canaidan Journal of Applied Physiology, 27(4): 423-448.

      Staron, R. S. (1997). Human skeletal muscle fibre types:delineation, development, and distribution. Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology, 22(4):307-327.

    • joecseko profile imageAUTHOR

      Joe Cseko jr 

      8 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

      Oddly, the way you describe your build, you may have quite a bit of potential with the conventional deadlift. Although, if you have particularly lengthy thighs (upper leg, whatever), then a sumo deadlift would work well, especially because of the long arms. This automatically puts your shoulders further from the floor. You'd quickly reach the midpoint of the lift (bar crossing the knees) and slam your hips forward.

      You're a very prolific soul, Izetti. I consider you reading my hubs a tremendous compliment. In turn, I've posted many of yours to my Facebook page.

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 

      8 years ago from The Great Northwest

      I get your point about the bench press. Also I should take into consideration powerlifting moves in general and that definitely requires some power/speed. I took a powerlifting class in college and man I have to respect the guys that do that. ALthough I was at a disadvantage because I'm tall (longer arms and legs) so squats and other power moves were difficult for me.As always I enjoy your hubs because it reminds me of my good ol days of living in the gym :-)

    • joecseko profile imageAUTHOR

      Joe Cseko jr 

      8 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

      I won't disagree with what you're saying with the slow approach; at least where strength is concerned. Strength and power are two separate things, though.

      I will disagree, however, with the assertion that speed is the use of momentum. Take a powerlifter's bench press. The bar must be motionless, paused on the chest (length of pause is at three judges discretion). There is no way to create momentum there. Even sinking the bar into the chest will earn a disqualification.

      But, as always, the people whom I enjoy reading have posted constructive comments. I surely don't mind a bit of healthy debate. Also, I will never deny a comment based on the fact that someone may disagree with my article. People here do that to me. Seems strange.

      Thanks again, Bendo, and to you, Izetti.

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 

      8 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Love your honest approach. I used to be a gym rat and was disgusted by steroid freaks. I've read some your stuff and Bendo's too and I disagree with both of you guys. I saw significant strength gains every week by using a slow lift approach. Mike Mentzer was one of the ifrst I read about to use this, but truly the proof is in the pudding- have you tried slow lifting like 4-10 sec counts on the lift and the lower. This gives you such a good burn. Speed is using momentum no matter how controlled your movement- slow is harder so if you want a challenge, give it a try. Just keepin you in check :-))

    • joecseko profile imageAUTHOR

      Joe Cseko jr 

      8 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

      Bendo 13, I always welcome your input. I've read a great deal of what you've written here, and you always present great information.

      I'll second your vote on the steroids, too. Most people I know that use them don't even know what the ramifications are, nor does science know what the LONG term ramifications are. What puzzles me is people that use them without the prospect of monetary gain! Why???

      A 5 million dollar contract to be the fastest/strongest- now that sounds like encouragement.

    • Bendo13 profile image

      Ben Guinter 

      8 years ago from Colorado Springs, Colorado

      I don't like steriods at all, sure you can take them in a "safe" way but it's so unnatural and honestly.. most people that take them don't look good. They might look good to themselves or others that take steroids or want to look like that but people have warped minds now a days.

      I want true functional muscle.. I want to be able to scratch my back, run at a decent pace if I want to and actually be strong, not just look it...

      Speed is definitely key when it comes to power because true power is usually a short burst of strength then your strongest muscle fibers give out... so if you train with speed in mind you're going to target these fibers specifically and in turn will be stronger and more powerful.

      That means low reps!

    • joecseko profile imageAUTHOR

      Joe Cseko jr 

      8 years ago from New York, USA, Earth

      That's part of my point. Sure, the ascension into the professional ranks almost always requires the use of drugs. I see this as the only (semi) valid reason outside medical necessity.

      I appreciate your comments...

    • artrush73 profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub and great information. But I have to disagree with out on the part where you say "In my opinion, steroids only have a place in professional sports." how do you think people get to professional level? Without juice it's almost impossible these days because the competition is so high. Those who do juice have greater advantage over athletes who don't. What ever people say about steroids is not true. (if someone uses steroids for one time, they impotent). If they used steroids for long periods of time without any breaks between cycles and increased their dosage instantly. Yeah you right in this case. Those are probably the once that turning in into girls :)))

      Great hub. Looking forward reading more of your work.


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