Training Load: Find Your Right Volume
The following article was written by an expert in the field of Strength Training. His name is John Berardi. He has been writing articles since 1997 and has published over 500 articles on various topics related to strength training.
He is one of the most respected names in the industry and he is considered as one of the best experts in the world when it comes to Strength Training. You can read more about him here .
What Is Muscle?
Muscle is a group of connective tissue cells that make up skeletal muscles. They are found throughout your body, but they are most prominent in your arms and legs. These tissues consist of two types of fibers; type I and type IIa fibers. Type I fibers contract slowly while type IIa fibers contract quickly. Both types have similar characteristics, however their functions differ greatly.
Type I fibers are responsible for supporting the weight of your body. They provide support to all parts of your body and act as shock absorbers. They also assist with movement such as walking, running, jumping and climbing stairs.
Type I fibers do not contain any blood vessels or nerves so they cannot feel pain like other types of muscle fibers.
Contrary to type I fibers, type IIa fibers are commonly referred to as “fast twitch” muscle fibers. These are the muscle fibers that are evident whenever you move your body. They are the muscles you use when sprinting, jumping or even lifting weights.
Type IIs are also called red muscle fibers because of their red color. These are the types of muscles that cause veins to stick out in a body builder’s arms or legs.
The type IIs are prone to be damaged during physical activity. However, they are also very capable of regeneration. This is why athletes and body builders can sustain an injury yet still perform at a high level shortly after the injury.
Muscle types have been categorized by physiologists for many years and there are pros and cons to each type. For instance, type I fibers are resistant to fatigue and can work without your conscious effort; however they contract slowly and tire quickly. The opposite is true for type II fibers; they tire quickly and are susceptible to fatigue, but contract at a much faster rate.
Some individuals display a combination of both fiber types in their biceps or quadriceps. This is caused by the lack of either type I or type II fibers in those specific muscles.
Athletes who engage in an array of physical activity should focus on exercises that involve both type I and type II muscle fibers. This helps prevent injury and also provides more strength to perform at a higher level.
Body builders should focus on developing large type I fibers because this will allow them to lift heavier weight for longer periods of time. Follow these tips to help develop your type I muscle fibers:
1) Warm up thoroughly before engaging in physical activity.
This prevents your type II fibers from becoming fatigued prematurely. They remain strong long enough for the type I fibers to increase in size and strength.
2) Follow exercise routine to the letter.
Perform each exercise slowly and deliberately. This prevents momentum and your fast-twitch muscles from taking over, which would cause your type II fibers to contract. Remember, your goal is to increase the size of your type I fibers.
3) Watch your diet.
Consume foods that contain a high amount of carbohydrates. These are converted into glycogen which is stored in the muscles for future energy needs. Foods such as pasta, potatoes, fruits and breads are high in carbohydrates.
4) Be patient!
Type I muscle fibers do not increase in size overnight. It takes dedication and a focused effort over an extended period of time. Be patient and you will enjoy the benefits of having a lean, strong body with little excess fat.
Now that we’ve covered the basics of skeletal muscle function, it’s time to focus on the heart. The heart is truly a fascinating organ. As many know, it’s primarily an involuntary muscle that pumps blood through our body.
It does not contain any nerves and can only contract in one direction. This makes it different from skeletal muscles; however it shares several similarities.
First of all, it must receive a constant supply of oxygen. Without this, it cannot survive for very long. The heart also has an abundant amount of mitochondria.
These are organelles within the cells that assists with ATP or cellular energy. Mitochondria are present in most body cells; however they are more concentrated in muscle cells and organs such as the liver and kidneys.
The heart is in direct control of sending blood to the organs of the body. It does this by sending out an electrical impulse to the arteries. These are then able to contract and relax, which in turn causes the flow of oxygen rich blood to the organs.
If the heart is functioning properly, it can last indefinitely. It can also continue to beat independently even after it has been removed from the body! The only thing that will eventually stop a beating heart is lack of oxygen.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that it must receive air. Placing a beating heart in a jar of water will allow it to continue beating even though no oxygen is present. The heart does not need air in order to survive, it simply needs a constant supply of oxygenated blood.
Here’s an experiment that you can try to prove this to yourself. Find a preserved heart at a science museum and place it in a clear glass jar of water. You’ll be able to see the heart beating if you look closely enough.
Now here’s the interesting part. Place your hand over the opening of the jar and not only will the heart beat continue, but it will begin to speed up! Placing your hand over the opening has created an airless environment and oxygen is no longer being delivered to the heart.
It is being forced to beat as fast as possible in order to pump blood through the body and this requires a lot of energy. The heart doesn’t know or care if the blood is being pumped to anything other than itself. It is simply trying to survive by pumping blood. You’ve just created a self-contained biological system that will continue beating as long as you have your hand over the opening to the jar.
Try this experiment with several preserved hearts and notice how various animals will produce different results. Frog hearts are very quick, dog hearts beat fairly fast, and human hearts beat at a moderate speed. The heart is a fascinating organ that can still beat for extended periods of time outside of the body.
Now that we’ve covered two of the most important muscles in the human body, it’s time to move on to other types of cells and organs. I don’t want to overwhelm you in the beginning with too much information. Biology is a complex science and requires lots of practice.
I will tell you this though, biology is a very important and useful tool.
Use it to its fullest extent, for knowledge is power!
Sources & references used in this article:
Training load does not affect detraining’s effect on muscle volume, muscle strength and functional capacity among older adults by E Van Roie, S Walker, S Van Driessche… – Experimental …, 2017 – Elsevier
Training load and performance in swimming by JC Chatard, I Mujika – Biomechanics and medicine in swimming …, 1999 – researchgate.net
Managing the training load in adolescent athletes by A Murray – International journal of sports physiology …, 2017 – journals.humankinetics.com