What do Olympic sprinters, boxing professionals and NFL/NBA athletes all have in common? That’s right, it’s explosiveness. Whether it is jump off the ground and slam dunk a basketball or land a deadly left hook, these athletes have conditioned their musculature for speed, agility and coordination.
Chances are unless you are either regularly active in such sports, or consciously train for explosiveness, your fast-twitch fibers have been neglected and are always under-utilized. That’s because your body will naturally avoid using fast-twitch fibers unless something specifically calls for their use. Think of a kind of law of inertia – your body naturally wants to do everything with as little effort as possible.
However, there’s a good reason you want to be training those muscle-fibers up if you are keen to look better or lose weight. According to VJD, type II fibers are naturally much more resource hungry than their type I counterparts, meaning developing those fibers will mean you naturally burn more calories through typical movements.
What’s more, since training these fibers demands the training to be done at such a high intensity, you will naturally reap all the benefits that HIIT brings. The main one is Exercise Post Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) which means even after exercise, your body is still taking in more oxygen and burning calories. This kind of benefit simply isn’t found in a cardio workout.
A great way to build your fast-twitch fibers is through jumping. Since jumping involves lifting your whole body weight into the air, it requires a person’s leg and surrounding muscles to contract quickly in order to generate lots of power in a short amount of time. The VJD Ultimate Jump Guide states that your muscles only have around 0.2 seconds to work during a jump, meaning your body has no choice but to recruit as many type II muscle fibers as possible.
So, what are the best jumping exercises to target these special fibers? The answer is not so much in the exercise itself, but the way the exercises are performed. You can take any jumping exercise and provided that you jump with the intention to jump as high as possible, you’ll shock your nervous system into firing off as many type II fibers as it can.
Over time, you will not only be jumping higher, but you’ll be running faster, changing direction faster and even looking better. If you’ve always wanted that ripped look found in basketball or football players, look no further than working on your vertical jump!