T Nation

Muscle Fibers

I recently ended a Conjugated periodization cycle. My bench press weight went up 35lbs, to a PR of 240! My squat weight didn’t raise a whole lot, however, I hit a PR (obviously) with my deadlift at 400lbs. Overall I would say it was very successful.

I took a week off and now I am following the Super Squats program. Wow, what a challenge! I noticed throughout the ‘westside cycle’ I could lift a maximal load well but repetition work killed me.

My questions regard muscle fiber types. I was training Type IIa & IIb, correct? I read somewhere that if you train intensely at 90%+, lifting submaximal weights will be easier. I find this is not so true. My benchpress is pathetic at 12x135, 8x135, 7x135. My 12 rep maximum should be somewhere around 168. In the case of my benchpress, now that I am training with 12 reps will I build the Type I fibers? Will my Type II fibers atrophy?

First of all you can not train a single fibre type in isolation. Henneman’s size priniciple states that type I fibres are recruited and as more and more force is required, more and more fibre types are recruited.

Therefore the load of 90% your 1RM would be large enough to activate your type II fibres.

Where did you get that your 12 rep max should be around 168? Is that based on your 1 rm?

As for your question regarding atrophy, as long as you continue to overload the muscle atrophy should not occur, however you will notice that as you change your rep scheme around your 1 Rm will vary this is due to changing muscle characteristics. For example with the 12 rm, this will induce increased oxidation characteristics, where as with the westside style of lifting with 1 rms, this was purely anaerobic.

You will regain back your 1 rm, and surpass them once you change back from a 12 rep lifting program to a westside style program. It is good to vary your rep scheme around so your body does not plateau.

Your metabolic work capacity should increase pretty quickly.Probably a couple of weeks.

The same thing happened to mine after an extended period of conjugate/neurological training.

You should also be able to keep or even increase your max a little with some intermitent max effort days included with a relatively metabolic work out scheme.

Excellent information, Thanks

-checks over shoulder-
the calculator on bodybuilding.com says with a 1rm of 240, 12 reps to failure is 70% of your 1rm.

Yes that would make sense, however realize you have been training your muscle with low reps, therefore the metabolic properties have changed. Now all of a sudden you are using higher reps.

This would be a sitation similar to taking a 100m sprinter and making them run 1500m at the same pace, the way the muscle works differs.

Therefore the calculated weight for 12 reps will be difficult to achieve because of the metabolic shift the muscle will need to take. Therefore to derive a weight based on this alone would be unreasonable.

Exactly. The first time I noticed this years ago, I was pretty frustrated as you can imagine. But tell me about this conjugate model you were using. Was there just dynamic and max effort days?

4 days a week:

Mon: (DE) squat
Wed: (ME) bench
Fri: (ME) squat
Sat: (DE) bench

upper/lower split only 2 templates
changing exercises when applicable. However, all my assistant/supplement exercises were lower reps then suggested, nothing over 8 reps usually. I was on a ‘strength’ cycle in my mind.