Knowing your muscle type dominance is one of the most important variables in training programs. This is why many people can follow the exact, same program and see different results. A training program that might seem easy to someone with slow-twitch dominant muscle fibers can seem daunting to a person with fast-twitch dominant muscle fibers. So, where do we start?



Before I give you the answer please understand you are a MIXTURE of both fast-twitch (type IIa and type IIx) and slow-twitch (type I) muscle fibers. All muscles in your entire body contain both fast-twitch and slow-twitch. Your genetics determine how they are dispersed and how many you have in your body. In order to determine which muscle fiber dominance you fall into you need to have a solid foundation in lifting for at least 1-2 years. This means you’ve been doing the basics: deadlift, bench press, squat, pull-up, dips, etc. If you’re completely new to training then the following formula can still help but won’t be as accurate. Here’s what you do:


  1. Find your 1RM (one rep max) on following exercises
    1. Bench Press
    2. Back Squat or Front Squat
    3. Deadlift (standard or sumo)
    4. Military Press
    5. Weighted Pull-Up
  2. Multiply each 1RM by 80%
    1. Back Squat is 300lbs x .8 = 240lbs
  3. Finally, perform 1 set at 80% of your 1RM and see how many reps you can perform without rest
  4. Based on the number of reps you performed you’ll fall into one of the following categories
    1. FAST = 1-8 reps
    2. MIXED = 9-14 reps
    3. SLOW = 15+ reps



Now, we know which muscle fiber category you fall in to and this will help us with the next step; figuring out the load, tempo, and volume of workload you need to stimulate growth.

    1. Tempo = Explosive
      1. You want fast reps to stimulate myofibril growth
      2. You don’t have much endurance in your muscles so you don’t want your sets to last very long, usually under 30 seconds
    2. Load = High
      1. Your muscles don’t respond off of light weight very well.
      2. Stick to 80% or more of your maxes when it comes to the weight you use in training
    3. Volume = Low
      1. Again, your muscles don’t need much to stimulate growth. Few reps will do the job since the load is so high
      1. Tempo = Slow
        1. Working sets should last at least 30 seconds, upwards of 60 seconds.
        2. You need more TUT (time under tension) to stimulate growth. There’s no way around this. Slow, steady reps
      2. Load = Moderate to Low
        1. Your muscles aren’t explosive but they have a lot of endurance.
        2. Keeping the weight low will allow you to perform longer sets and not shock your nervous system.
  • Hover between 50%-70% for muscular growth
  1. Volume = High
    1. Your muscles have high endurance but they are stubborn when it comes to growth.
    2. Sets of 15+ reps will benefit you the most
  2. MIXED
    1. Tempo = Slow & Fast
    2. Load = Low & High
    3. Volume = Low & High
      1. You’re going to benefit from both styles of training and you need to focus on both if you want to get the best bang for your buck.
      2. Spend 1-2 blocks training each methodology
        1. Remember, a training “block” is 4 weeks of hard training followed by 1 week of “deloading”



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