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Slow twitch muscles can still spin...I think!(3 posts)

Slow twitch muscles can still spin...I think!Canidraftyou
Jun 5, 2002 11:43 PM
I have slow twitch muscles, but can spin at a nice rate. I have a very large frame, 26 inch thighs and a 34 inch waist at 5'10" and 190 lbs. at 8% body fat im able put in a nice sprint, the problem is being there at the end with the pack so that I can display my sprint. Yeah yeah, I work intervals and work endurance, I train my ass off, but hills knocks me out of any chance in a win/place or show. My question I guess is this, is there a place for everyone in cycling giving the fast twitch vs. slow twitch? Sure fast twitch @ 140 lbs would be nice, but some of us dont have that. I'm excited for the flat crits to come, but what about the rest of the race season?

G. Smith
Urban myth?Wayne
Jun 6, 2002 3:44 AM
Don't worry about fiber type, it might not even be significant. I assure you slow-twitch fibers can contract plenty fast-enough for you to spin at 120rpm. How do you know you have a predominance of slow-twitch fibers (in the quads)? Even a muscle biopsy, which is the only way I know of reliably looking at this, only samples a tiny portion of the muscle. The limited studies that are out there show human quadriceps muscles to be about a 50/50 mix of fast/slow twitch fibers. Other muscles such as soleus tend to be largely slow-twitch in humans, not sure about glutes. I would say from a physiology standpoint being a good sprinter is more of a muscle size thing than a fiber-type thing and probably has alot to do with biomechanics and neuromuscular control as well. Look at world class athletes even the road sprinters are usually the big guys, and for pure sprinting it's definitely largely about size, like Nothstein or any 100m runner. And you even seem to imply yourself that you can sprint (but have slow-twitch muscles?). The main feature of a strong bike rider is the aerobic engine, everything else is the details. Look at Armstrong, I don't think he can out-sprint anyone in the pro-peloton, but he's managed to find a place in cycling. Going with your line of reasoning he must be a slow-twitch guy, and yet he more than gets by! I don't know why you couch your discussion in terms of muscle-fiber type, being competitive is about aerobic energy producing ability and to a lesser extent maximum glycolytic energy producing ability. Develop those two things and you will be competitive, at some level, somewhere, in some aspect of the sport whether it's sprinting or climbing or TTing, etc.
Muscle fiber type might matter for something but I don't think there is much if any evidence to support it as being one of the major determinates of cycling ability (even sprinting ability?).
Living proofdistinctHead
Jun 6, 2002 8:58 AM
I'm 5'11", 165 lbs, 27 inch thighs, 8 or 9 percent body fat etc, and am made up of mostly slow twitch muscle fibers. Last year, I could outsprint most of my mates, but the hills would kill me and my spin was rather slow. This year, my endurance rocks, I can easily spin at 120 rpm and can ride for miles and miles. Didn't exactly plan on doing this, it just sort of happened with my renewed interest in distance cycling, and here in CT, "flat" means hilly and "hilly" means mountainous ;), so I sort of had to deal with it. Your body can adapt to anything, and I think my biggest hold-back was psychological. I *thought* the hills would kill me because of my build, so they did, I *thought* I'd get tired after so many miles, so I did. This year I didn't really pay any attention to what my mind was trying to convince my body, and just trained my ass off. Unfortunately, i have to sell my bike because I have to move and must pay off certain debts first. C'est la vie I suppose.
Kick ass and chew bubble gum,
DistinctHead ;)