• You're all caught up!

Fast Twitching Muscles & Bench Presses

author image Lydia Stephens
Lydia Stephens began writing professionally in 2009. She has written online for Nile Guides, SheKnows.com and various other websites and has been published in "Stringing Magazine" and "Xiamen Wave." Stephens played competitive soccer for 19 years, has been weight lifting since 2007 and enjoys running, biking and sailing. She has a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from the University of Texas.
Fast Twitching Muscles & Bench Presses
Bench pressing naturally recruits fast twitch muscle. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Your musculature includes two types of fibers, slow twitch and fast twitch. Slow twitch muscles are recruited for endurance activities and don't tire out easily, but they can't produce as much force as fast twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscles, used by your body during anaerobic activity, provide short bursts of force but tire quickly. Your genetics determines your ratio of fast to slow twitch muscle, but you can make the most of what you have through training.

Training Fast Twitch Muscles

If you're looking to gain explosive strength and muscle growth, or hypertrophy, you should focus your weight training on your fast twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscles are more reactive and grow more quickly than slow twitch muscles. You're training your fast twitch muscles whenever you perform short bursts of intense activity, such as sprinting, weight lifting or throwing. When performing a bench press, keep things short and explosive with heavy resistance.

You Might Also Like

Bench Press Technique and Benefits

Bench pressing trains the muscle fibers in your chest, shoulders and triceps. Lie on a flat bench with the barbell rack positioned directly above your face. Plant your feet on the floor to either side of the bench and place your hands shoulder-width apart on the barbell, palms facing forward. Lift the barbell off the rack and position it with your arms extended directly toward the ceiling. As you inhale, slowly lower the bar toward your chest. Push the bar back toward the ceiling as you exhale. Avoid arching your lower back during the exercise and always have a spotter ready to help you with the weight.

Bench Pressing for Fast Twitch Muscle

Performing a bench press naturally trains fast twitch muscles, but you can modify your technique to maximize the fast twitch benefits. Short bursts of speed and power, as well as eccentric, or lengthening, contractions, both stimulate your fast twitch muscle fibers. When bench pressing, slow down the eccentric, or downward, portion of the lift to four to five seconds before pushing the bar back up explosively. Alternately, perform an eccentric-only set by slowly lowering the barbell to your chest and having your spotter help you return it to the starting position. When performing an eccentric-only set, you can add more weight than if you were performing a traditional bench press.

Repetitions, Sets and Rest

The number of repetitions and sets you perform, as well as how long you rest between each set, contributes to the type of muscle fiber activated. To focus your bench press efforts on your fast twitch muscles, perform two to six sets of four to eight repetitions with a barbell heavy enough to fully fatigue your muscles by the final repetition. Fast twitch muscle fibers tire quickly. Let your muscles recover for two to five minutes between sets.

Related Searches

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
  • Female
  • Male
ft. in.


Demand Media