Everyone knows my feeling on working out. (Stop Working Out!) Now that we have that out of the way, it's time to start training. Much of the old mind set is wrapped around the idea that you have to build a base before training. Today's coaches, backed by science, are more specific. The idea of a base is too vague and doesn't address the that you are training, not working out. To be efficient, purposeful, direct, and serious about your training, you need to ask the question,
Build a base of what?
In the world of track and field, there seems to be two types of athletes,
Speed-power athletes are characterized by a higher ratio of type II to type I muscles fibers while endurance athletes have more type I fibers.
Type I muscle fibers, also know as "slow twitch" fibers, are more suited for endurance. They are slower to fatigue because they use oxidative metabolism to generate ATP. Type I muscle fibers are also deep red because they contain more myoglobin and tend to have more mitochondria and capillary density. All of these factors make them highly resistant to fatigue perfectly suited to generate tension for long periods of time. But, this tension is small compared to Type II fibers.
Distance running causes hypertrophy of type I muscle fibers (a great response for distance runners), but atrophy of type IIa and IIb fibers (a terrible response for speed-power athletes).
Type II muscle fibers, known as "fast twitch" fibers, are better adapted to speed-power activities. They come in two varieties, IIa and IIb.
Type IIa fibers are the bridge between the hyper quick IIb fibers and the slower I fibers. They bridge the gap because they still use oxygen as a fuel source. In fact, they use fast oxidative/glycolytic (FOG) metabolism to generate ATP. As a result, their can generate more tension quicker than type I, but also fatigue quicker.
Type IIb fibers are the fastest of the "fast twitch" fibers. They use the fast glycolytic (FG) metabolism to generate ATP. The lack of oxygen in this energy production generates an extreme amount of force very quickly, but also fatigues quickly.
To train type II muscle fibers it is necessary to choose exercises that require a great amount of force in over a very short period of time. Exercises that meet this criteria include sprinting, jumping, and throwing.