First of all, make sure to work out what types of muscle fibers you have – it’ll be of vital importance for creating your own strength training program. Make sure to have average percentages from five fiber tests for all muscle groups.
Once you have your average percentages from five tests, the fun part can begin. There are fast and slow twitch muscle fibers – most people have mixture of both types and their usual percentages from the fiber test is between 50% and 75%. Those people will benefit most from classic, 8 to 12 rep ranges with moderate number of sets and rest periods no longer then two minutes.
Everyone below 50% will benefit most from heavy, power training style which is usually consisted of less exercises with longer rest periods, because their muscles are primary made of fast twitch fibers as they can’t recover that fast. Rest periods for them are usually up to 5 minutes – they tend to do many sets per exercise with less then 8 reps.
Finally, there is the last group: lifters who are primarily made of slow twitch muscle fibers. In the fiber test their muscles were able to recover so fast that they could do at least 75% of time under tension (TUT) from the previous set with only one minute rest. This group will benefit most from volume training, various exercises with high reps (12 and more), less sets and up to one minute rest periods.
Lifters With Fast Twitch Fibers
Those lifters are characterized by the following:
- They get tired faster
- They benefit more from power style workouts
- Less exercises with more sets per exercise
- No more then 8 reps
- Rest periods up to 5 minutes
For those lifters it’s enough to have 3 exercises for big muscle group. This is a legs example.
- Back barbell squats – 5 sets of 2-4 reps (rest interval: up to 5 minutes)
- Barbell front squats – 4 sets od 4-6 reps (rest interval: 3-5 minutes)
- Leg extension – 3 sets of 6-8 reps (rest interval: 2-3 minutes)
This is very simple and this can be applied to any muscle group that tends to have greater ratio of fast twitch fibers.
Lifters With Mixed Fibers
Those lifters are characterized by following:
- They don’t get tired as fast as the previous group
- They benefit most from classic workout templates
- Moderate number of sets and exercises
- Rep range between 8 and 12
- Rest periods up to 2, 2,5 minutes at most
Those lifters will benefit most from moderate numbers of exercise for every muscle group which is about 4 for big ones and 2-3 for small ones. This is an example for chest.
- Incline barbell bench press – 4 sets of 8 reps (rest interval: up to 2 minutes)
- Dumbbell bench press – 4 sets of 8-10 reps (rest interval: up to 2 minutes)
- Dumbbell fly – 3 sets of 8-12 reps (rest interval: 1 to 1.5 minutes)
- Low cable crossover – 3 sets of 8-12 reps (rest interval: 1 to 1.5 minutes)
As I mentioned before, this is a group where most of the people will be. Everybody starts with this kind of template, but not everybody gets optimal results from it.
Lifters With Slow Twitch Fibers
Those lifters are characterized by following:
- They can’t get tired fast
- Great with endurance training
- More exercises with less number of sets
- Rest periods is 1.5 minute max, optimally one minute
- Rep range is 12 and more
Those lifters struggle to get tired and have a hard time getting lactic acid in the muscle so they won’t benefit from power/low rep training style. They need the exact opposite. Here’s an example for back.
- Barbell bent over row – 4 sets of 12 reps (rest interval: 1.5 minute max)
- Chin-ups – 3 sets of 12-15 reps (rest interval: 1 minute)
- One arm dumbbell row – 3 sets of 12-15 reps (rest interval: 1 minute)
- Lat pulldown – 3 sets of 15-20 reps (rest interval: 1 minute)
- Hyperextension – 2 sets of 25 reps (rest interval: 45 seconds to 1 minute)
That’s how you hit muscles that simply won’t get tired.
That covered our 3 groups and it’s more clear to you now how to create a training program according to your muscle fibers.
Your fiber test results may be different from one muscle group to another. That’s why it is preferably to create training program for each muscle group according to your test results. For example, the percentage for my shoulders is 94%. This is unusually high – I never felt like I’m working my shoulders optimally when I was doing heavy-low rep military presses. I never did less then 12 reps for shoulders and always doing at least four exercises for them and they are the best developed muscle part on my body.
However, chest is the opposite. I was always doing high rep-volume kind of training and they didn’t grow. Then I found out about the fiber test and realized that chest percentage is little above 54%. I was shocked with that information – so I started to train my chest differently and now the progress is remarkable.
In conclusion, everybody is different so two guys can’t use the same training program expecting the same results. If you have some extra money a fitness DNA test is recommended so you don’t have to think about training styles for the rest of your lifting career, but for those who don’t have that amount of money this article should be of vital importance. Personally I finished fiber testing 12 weeks ago and the results I got are remarkable. This was the best thing I ever did for my muscles, so I hope this information will help you too!