TIP#2.6 - How To Target White Muscle Fibres So You GROW

To gain size from your training approach you need to learn how to target White Muscle Fibres, contract and damage them appropriately. This is the type of fibre that has the most potential to grow large. Officially named Type 2-b muscle fibres, they are generally only recruited during short explosive training when massive force is needed over a short period of time AND during Positive and Negative Failure only once the other muscle types have been exhausted. This second way is the way that is relevant for maximum growth.


Strength training generally involves very heavy weight but very short sets. For example, if someone is doing very heavy squats, say in a range of 1-3 reps, the set might not last more that 5-10 seconds. They will also rest for 1 or 2 seconds at the top of the movement. So although they might be recruiting white muscle fibres, the time of which they are under tension is extremely short - maybe 3-4 seconds total per set. Over the period of a workout say 4-5 sets, this means that you'll be getting a maximum of 15-20 seconds of muscular tension on a muscle group each workout. Even in a slightly higher rep range, say 5-7 reps, this doesn't increase the total time your muscles are under tension very much - 35-40 seconds total per session. The main adaption as a result of this training is your body's ability to recruit more muscle, and little muscle damage occurs. This is why you can see people perform massive strength and power movements while maintaining low body weight and size.

If you are not damaging the white muscle fibres during training then how can they grow large? Your body undergoes a phenomenon called over-compensation when cells are damaged - replacing damaged cells with larger cells (amongst other processes) - this is why muscles get larger when stimulated appropriately. Everyone is genetically limited to their specific white muscle fibre cell count, so it is important that, if you wish to get big, you make sure you target and damage them during appropriate training.


In bodybuilding we do just this. We hit all the muscle fibres but especially the ones that have the most potential to grow. Positive and Negative Failure is when our muscles are too exhausted to carry on with the exercise being performed. This is one goal when training for muscle size. Not doing so will mean failure to recruit and damage white muscle cells enough for growth. This approach involves a much longer time under tension for our muscles. First, the set is 8-12 reps long, and the tempo is slow, 2 seconds down 2 seconds up. Secondly, the range is only within the tension window, i.e. no full extention of the elbows during chest presses. And thirdly, there is absolutely no resting during the set, a constant tempo must be maintained. This allows the muscles to be under constant tension for much longer period of time, about 30-40 seconds per set. The prolonged set results in other muscle fibres (Type 1+2-a muscle fibres) being exhausted and White Fibres switching on. This coupled with 4-5 exercises per muscle group with a total of 16-20 sets means that in one single workout your muscles can be under constant tension for 8-14 minutes! At least 20 times longer than traditional strength training workouts.

So really, this approach is incomparible to a strength training approach when it comes to muscle contraction and tension, and provides much more potential for muscle growth. Obviously, there is more to learn about optimal form, forced reps and more advanced training techniques, but these fundemental protocols are what is needed for the vast majority of lifters. Forced Reps being the best protocol for Negative Failure.


1. Strength Training is about Improving White Muscle Fibre Recruitment.

2. Muscle Size is about Increasing White Muscle Fibre Damage.

3. To Increase White Muscle Fibre Damage we must Increase Time Under Tension.

4. To Damage White Muscle Fibres we must Reach Positive and Negative Failure.

Thanks so much for reading!

Matt The Trainer

Personal Trainer London

NOTE: Proper Nutrition is needed to implement these strategies effectively and successfully. Click here to learn more about Nutrition for bodybuilding.

NOTE 2: For more fundemental training techniques and principles please Click here.

#training #tip26 #musclegrowth #effective #bodybuilding #expertise


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