Fast-twitch leg muscles help your performance during agility-intensive sports.
Many athletes have an insatiable desire for success. They remain willing to do whatever it takes, including changing their body composition with supplements, exercise and diet. Each sport, however, requires a different physique. You must move carefully to get the body you want. Please speak with a doctor before modifying your exercise routine or dietary intake.
Categorize Your Muscles
Scientists classify muscle tissue into two categories. You use slow-twitch fibers, known as oxidative muscle, for endurance exercises like walking. You use fast-twitch fibers, known as glycolytic muscle, for speed exercises like sprinting. Trainers can easily design a program to increase either type of fiber. There are, for example, several ways to increase the glycolytic muscle content of your legs.
Add Some Resistance
Doing resistance exercises, or lifting weights, remains the most reliable method of increasing fast-twitch fibers. Interestingly, such enhancement persists across your entire life span. An August 2018 report in the Journal of Applied Physiology looked at the impact of resistance training in older men. A four-month routine caused a 10 to 18 percent increase in the glycolytic muscle content of their thigh and calf muscles. Participants in these studies also tend to show a decrease in overall fat mass. Such a decrease has many health benefits including better sugar regulation and a decrease in cholesterol.
Try Some Eccentrics
These results have motivated researchers to take a closer look at resistance exercise. Weightlifting involves a series of concentric and eccentric movements. Concentric movements accelerate objects and eccentric movements brake them. The authors of an August 2018 review in Frontiers in Physiology concluded that the eccentric part of resistance exercise plays the critical role in increasing glycolytic fiber content. Thus, you should emphasize the down part of exercises like calf raises and squats to increase the fast-twitch fiber content of your legs.
Supplement with Protein
Supplement use can enhance these effects. A study published in the July 2018 issue of Scientific Reports looked at the impact in younger men of taking whey or soy protein during 12 weeks of resistance exercise. Daily intake of whey increased the glycolytic muscle content of the participants' legs more than placebo. In contrast, soy increased the oxidative muscle content. The mechanism behind these effects remains unknown. However, testosterone may play a role. The exercise-whey combination increased testosterone levels with no other group showing an increase.
Eat Your Greens
Scientists have found similar results with inorganic nitrate. This substance, found in green leafy vegetables, has several health benefits. It, for example, decreases blood pressure and increases exercise tolerance. A March 2017 report in the journal Diabetes showed that inorganic nitrate increased the glycolytic muscle content of both humans and rats. The supplement also increased growth hormone levels. The authors suggested that nitrate has an effect similar to resistance exercise and that it could help you improve your health and fight disease.