There are 3 types of muscle fibers:
- Intermediate (which is a combination of both fibers)
There is only one muscle fiber that will help in developing speed. Muscle strength has a part to play, but explosive, fast-twitch fibers are what make someone run fast.
When the body is in motion, the majority of running converts to kinetic energy – like how fast you can push off the ground and how firm you push can convert to speed. If balance is maintained through each step, kinetic energy will propel the body and keep it in sequence to not misfire steps.
Someone who has more muscle mass needs to have quick fibers to help generate enough explosive force to move a heavier body. We cannot just focus on the muscles and strength, but on how they coordinate through human movement and what type of muscles we are trying to develop.
For example, when running, strong quads with weak hamstrings won’t result in building speed without the proper sequencing.
The risk for injury dramatically increases if the body isn’t working together through a natural range of motion. Stiff quads or hamstrings can result in either being pulled because they don’t maintain the same length through the eccentric and concentric (shortening or lengthening of the muscle) phase.
However, fast-twitch muscle fibers (quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, hip flexors) all have a part to play. These help synchronize the body while generating running speed. The muscles have to compliment each other with elasticity and range of motion to reach peak performance.
Fast-twitch muscle fibers fire ten times faster than slow-twitch muscle fibers. Training the body to become more elastic can help preserve the life of each body part and its function while reducing the risk of injury. As an athlete, building quick-twitch muscle fibers through a series of isometric training methods can help increase the body’s potential to be more explosive throughout any muscle group.