T Nation

Fast Twitch or Low Work Capacity?


About 3 weeks ago i did 240x3 on decline and last week i did decline for 4x8, and i could only do 155 and struggled on the last set to get 8. Normally my 3RM is 90% of my 1RM,

so based on my 240 3RM my 1RM should be around 265. And 155 is only 58% of my 1RM, that seems like super weak to me for 4x8. I thought either it could me i was fast twitched or had low work capacity, and since i only weigh like 155 at 5'8, it seems like i would weigh more if i were that fast twitch, i'm confused?? I just thought this was kind of a weird circumstance.


stick with the new rep range for awhile and see what happens


Agreed. Just hope for a lack of adaptation to the higher reps. LOL


compound movements have more potential weak spots:


i am the same way as you, although not to that degree, and i actually am a slow twitch guy.

my shoulders are messed up from years of benching too wide and separating both of them. now i am in repair mode.

just consider other possibilities besides muscle fiber make up and work capacity.

test 1: what are your rowing numbers?



I am experiencing exactly the same phenomenon.
I have been benching low rep for about a year.
The routine I am now following calls for a max triple, then 3x8-10 back-off and 1x8-10 paused back-off...
Today I did 3x285, then could only manage 8x225, 8x225, 6x225, 6x205p
I think it's just low work capacity 'cause I've done 12x225 before when rested.
Maybe it's the same thing with you?


How long have you been training? the longer you've been training, the fewer reps you can do with a certain percentage of your 1RM (generally).

To see whether your work capacity is a problem, I suggest you follow CW's 10 x 3 program. If you can do such a program but bonk with higher-rep work, then work capacity probably isn't the problem. You're probably just better suited to low-reps/heavy weights.

If, however, you suck at low reps and high reps, then your work capacity is probably to blame.


I do alot of 8x3 and 5x5 and with 8x3 i can normally squeeze out 8sets with a weight that is about 80-85% and about the last 4 sets are challenging, but i still manage to squeeze them out. So i guess i might just be suited for low reps. And i've been training since i was about 16 and i'm almost 22. So not that long, but i've added like 100lbs to my bench and 30lbs to my frame.

Also somebody asked what my rowing numbers are, i dont do alot of bent over rows. But i do chest supported rows, seated rows and one arm rows. I do lots and lots of upper back work though. I do alot of pullups, i can probably do 15 overhand pullups and 3 pullups with a 65lb dumbbell on a dip belt.


Yeah, I would recommend dropping medium and high rep work. Seems like you do better with low reps.

I assume the 30 pounds you've added is equally distributed over your frame. If so, you seem to gain a good deal of strength relative to your size increase. Are you trying to gain mass? Maybe you could bump up your calories (since you're only 22, you can probably get away with high-calorie diets without it making you fat). BTW, nothing derogatory was implied with the use of the word "only".

If you already are eating a ton of calories and are still not gaining weight as quickly as you want, I recommend two things (besides the above recommendation to drop medium and high rep work):

Do power work. Try some O-lift variants. The three I like are the snatch balance, clean from the hang, and power jerks. these are easier to learn than the competition lifts. For working the pressing muscles, do the Westside speed benches. For upper back and biceps, do bounce pull-ups.

Start at the half-way point of a pull-up (where the upper arms are parallel to the floor). Now drop to almost full extension and "bounce" back to the starting position.

Yeah, I know, anyone reading this post will say I'm recommending nothing but joint pain for you.

Anyway, work on improving your technique and speed on these exercises while doing just enough work to retain your hypertrophy and max strength. Then go back to a hypertrophy program (CW's multiple set/low rep programs, EDT, or even Poliquin's advanced GVT). I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Hmmm, this post has gone on waaaaay too damn long. You probably didn't even want all this advice. I apologize if this is the case. Anyway, just trying to help.


I so speed benches and speed pullups but i only do them for 3 week cycle's about once every 6-9 weeks. I dont have to do alot of speed work to stay fast. So i normally put heavy low reps in the place of that. But i've just gotta work on either eating bigger meals or i've got to figure out a time to squeeze in a few more meals.



You may have a build up of toxins in your muscles, causing a poor work capacity. I am not sure, but I think that I recall that high mercury levels can cause this. Maybe taking some chlorella will help. I am pretty sketchy on the details of all this (obviously) but it might be worth looking into. Then again you might be one fast twitch sumbitch. Hope this helps.


Everything i do leans towards being fast twitch, i'm fast, quick, jump high and suck at high reps, and am relatively strong for my size.
But i figured if i was fast twitch i'd be a hell of alot bigger than i am, but i guess that just depends on the total calories i'm taking in and my SUPER fast metabolism.


Check out CT's "Training for Easy-Hard Gainers". I think you'll find a lot of good info in that article. There, no more long posts.


Hmm. This whole toxin thing is news to me. Very interesting though.