This may be a little advanced for beginners, but for those of you who feel you are becoming a seasoned “iron worshipper” and wan to reach that next level I have one question for you – what body type are you? Generally there are three body types which can be described as the following:
Ectomorph – naturally skinny, low body fat (normally), struggle to gain weight, more slow twitch muscle fibres
Endomorph – naturally higher body fat, not a lot of muscle mass, stubborn body fat, more slow twitch muscle fibres
Mesomorph – naturally low/medium body fat, ability to build muscle easy, larger percentage of fast twitch muscle fibres
In reality most of us are a blend of two body types, it is never as clean cut as the illustration suggests above. However I am still a firm believer that training specifically with your body type in mind works, logically it makes sense.
Style Of Training
After deciding with an educated guess which type of body you were gifted as a baby you can then act on this in the gym. For example, if you are an extreme ectomorph I would suggest that utilising high volume training with higher repetitions, drop sets and giant sets is the way forward for you – most of the time at least! In contrast, if you are naturally muscular it is likely you are gifted with more fast twitch muscle fibres which means heavy training will yield great results for you! Again, most of the time remember.
Repetition tempo is another way you can specifically target certain muscle fibres, to an extent at least. Using a repetition tempo which allows the muscle to remain under maximum levels of tension with heavy poundages (slow eccentric contractions for example) will help engage fast twitch fibres for short periods of time because they are required to resist against the force. In contrast, using a fluid repetition tempo where the muscle fibres are more prone to ‘’burn out’’ you will be able to target your slow twitch muscle fibres given that the repetition range is high enough.
This is a very influential part of your weight training which shall dictate, to an extent which muscle fibres are being brought into play. Keeping your rest periods between 30-45 seconds combined with higher repetitions and a fluid repetition tempo will help keep your slow twitch muscle fibres engaged. In contrast, resting for 90-120 seconds between sets with a low repetition range, slow repetition tempo (bar explosive concentric contraction, of course) will help stimulate your fast twitch muscle fibres.
Using these tips should allow you to train your body the way it needs to be trained!