T Nation

Fast Twitch/Slow Twitch


I was doing my bench day at the gym a few days ago.

I asked a guy for a spot no actually he came up to me and OFFERED a spot
and I obliged for my ME set and after the set
he made a comment to me something along the lines of "you have good
(than he either said fast twitch or slow twitch I don't remember) because
you are really good at the bottom half of the rep"

I did not want to make any conversation with him since he was declining 365 with
less than 1/6 range of motion in a very shaky scary way and I did not want him to ask me for a spot which I would have refused anyways but I did that before to someone and every time he sees me he mean mugs me. So I just moved over to the other side of the gym to finish workout.

My question is could somebody elaborate on what he was talking about? He could have no idea what he was talking about as far as fast twitch/slow twitch.
But as far as me being good at bottom half of rep it is true now thinking
about it every time I have gotten stuck on bench it is always at about half way through the rep.

What does this mean? How can I improve on the 2nd half? Is it that my shoulders are stronger than my triceps? Should I be doing rack presses starting at midway through the range of motion? If so what is the best way to incorporate those rack presses into 5/3/1 training? Would using bands help? Would using bands along with rack pressing help? Please help my bench is really lagging behind my squat/deadlift any input would be awesome. Thanks!


Weak triceps - try board presses and other equivalents.


Type I- Slow oxidative, high endurance, low strength
Type IIa, b, or x- Low endurance, high strength, faster coupling rate

Whoever that guy was at the gym is a moron. Using Fiber Type as a description of "good off the chest when you bench" makes no sense.




I think he was trying to sound smart.


I liked the triceps comment, they are heavily involved in the lockout.
And yes, he was trying to sound smart. The gym is an ego-driven environment, hence why every female is sitting on an ab machine staring at what everybody else is doing and why guys are half-benching and reverse cleaning weights all night. Next time you hear some shit like that pull a "Wow! I've heard of that but don't know the intricacies. Please elaborate." Once they give you their half-assed explanation, "Could you elaborate further?"


That kind of logic will get you Bally's Total Fitness membership taken away.


Please don't tell them; they have the most comfortable bicycles


I think he might mean you have good reactive strength and poor absolute strength, and I'm not sure if that is the correct terminology for any of this.

I used to be like this on bench. I'd kill a single with good speed, then add 5lbs and simply get crushed. Now, I can grind through a little bit more.

Some people say if you are slow, do speed work to get faster. Then I've heard about people with good speed but lesser maximal strength, don't need to worry about DE work as much as pushing up the ME work.

Something along those lines is what I think he might have been referring to.

Any more info would be appreciated by anybody that knows what I am trying to talk about.


Speed work has helps me grind through sticking points. I mean... sticking points for me are just that... the weight just sticks for a few seconds and then comes back down. But with speed work, I have just enough momentum to get past it. For the sake of my shoulders I prefer reverse bands and cgbp free weight for my speed work and I also like to do a short pause for my speed work.

And I'm naturally fast even when I was weaker than a kitten before PL training, but not naturally strong at all, yet speed work still helps me with the powerlifts.

Kind of an interesting article I recently dug up explaining which people might do best with speed work and which ones don't need it as much.



It doesnt sound like it, what you are describing IS a good example of determining whether you are a fast or slow twitch dominant type person.
For instance, the drop off from a 1rm to 5 or ten pounds more being a huge struggle would indicate a majority of the muscle fibers being utilized as fast twitch.

On the other side, if you can drop 5 or ten pounds off your 1rm and crank out several quality reps, you may be leaning towards slow twitch dominance.

In either case, it does not appear this is what said asshole was talking about.


He's probably saying you're explosive off the chest. But he's still an idiot.

As Silverdan said, your type distribution could be different if you look at X-RMs. On my deadlift... My best pull is 495. My 3-rep max is 415. My 5 rep max is 325. Those are really effin huge jumps, cause I can't rep deadlift for shit. But you know what? My 495 is as fast as my 405 or my 315. I've had people tell me that it looks like I'm trying to power clean it because it moves off the ground so quickly. I'm just not built for reps; my body's explosive.

I'm more "normal" when it comes to my upper body... And being good off your chest could be a million and one things, but if you're explosive, yeah, you're going to come off the chest fast. But it'll be about the same speed at your 1RM or your 5RM or your empty bar warm-up.


My squat is the exact opposite. I can do reps but the 1 rm strength isn't what the reps would have predicted.

It brings up the interesting point, that I've trained the squat primarily through volume based approaches utilizing primarily 5/5+ reps.

My deadlift, which is one of my better lifts, I've never trained above 5 reps and its higher than my 5 rep max would indicate.

I have a buddy who trained at Westside for a bit and he's always saying "sets of 2 to 6, sets of 2 to 6" and "you train like a bodybuilder". I should listen to him more.