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Author Topic: Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres  (Read 15310 times)

Offline simonlock

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« on: September 02, 2007, 10:53:38 PM »
I recently made a very strong connection with a concept that I pretty much knew for quite some time. One day when i was about 18 I could play about 3 times as fast as the day before and i was so excited I nearly played until my fingers bled. The next day I was almost as fast but i could tell I wasn't at the same level as before. By the 3rd day I couldn't get that feeling again. I was disappointed to say the least. Not because I could play like lightening but because everything was so easy to play. Like playing air.

Fastforward ten years. I started to become very serious again at about 28. Some days were better than ever but that feeling was still very elusive. It was like some of my fingers had it and others didn't. Some days none of them :( For the past 2 years I got closer every few months with a month or so in between where my fingers would forget the feeling.

I found an interesting book called "The Principles of Correct Practice For Guitar" and it really got me thinking about unlocking that gift I had had more than 10 years before that I'd lost. I bought the book and read it. It is good and I'm sure it helped me in my discovery but i found the book a very dry read and the discriptions sounded like something you'd tell a Kindergarden class playing a Ukelele(do you guys have Kindergarden in the US?). So anyway the "pillow belly" and "floating fingers" and"firm fingers" adjectives didn't quite get the messages across for me and I was left as confused as before.

So anyway recently I've made a much more advanced personal discovery in my perception of this feeling. I call it a feeling because to me what I'm talking about to me is about how my hands feel when i play. Loose and floating. In my YouTube videos I'm tense and for the most part not very floaty.

I don't know how much any of you will know about Type 1 and Type 2 muscle fibres but i used to bodybuild and know a few things about muscle. Type 1 is for heavy lifting and for sustained tension situations. Type 2 is a twitchy fast muscle and is for very quick precise movements like those used in Sports, Martial Arts and MUSICIANSHIP! Playing guitar is for the most part about training your brain to only turn on the Type 2 fibers. Beginners use only Type 1 and thats why they look like they're going to have an annyerism making a C chord. You'll be able to tell which one you are using by listening to your body and sensing if there is any applied muscles in between notes that you play. If you spend enough time with it your perception will grow and you'll be more aware of which fibers you are employing. To use an analogy, if a golfer were to use Type 1 muscle in his drive it would slice into the bushes. If Berry Bonds used Type 1 he'd hit maybe center field. If Bruce Lee didn't have absolute control of his "fast twitch" Type 2s he would never have been famous.

This is something I've spent a lot of time researching and trying to understand because after 20 years of my pesky Type 1"slow twitchers" trying to rule my playing I've finally started to listen more closely to my quiter electric signals. A lot of the best players just pick up the guitar and naturally use the right type. Others never figure it out. I didn't want to be one of those guys because I always knew that deep down I had the ability to be a Vai Martone or Guthrie if I could get past it and practice my ass off.

I really hope this helps someone like me and starts discussion that may unlock a better concept of the same thing so that those that don't understand me may get it.

Simon
Vancouver,BC
« Last Edit: September 02, 2007, 11:01:40 PM by simonlock »
 

Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline blancacat

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2007, 02:15:23 PM »
I think your on to something there.
I wouldn't think it would be a stretch to suppose then that some people could possibly have more type II muscle fiber than others--genetically.  Since all muscle needs an energy source (initially from amino acids) to be useful and/or at the apex of its utility, some bodies would have more of that at any given time. ADP is one energy source for muscle fiber that I remember and it needs oxygen and probably more than I am aware of to be used to the maximum.  Have you read anywhere that the type II muscle fibers require a different type of energy source--i.e. a slightly different form of ADP or something else alltogether?  Maybe some bodies or even the same body produces differing amounts of this at different times.  Different times of the day even.  That would be a large factor.  Our bodies break down amino acids differently--it's just genetic. That might explain the difference in speed from one day to the next, one person over another etc.  Seems that diet and overall health would be key factors.  Or a genetic anamoly would be a tremendous boost for a guitar player if he had more II fiber AND the proper apparatus and diet to get the fibers to fire up and run smoothly.  Some of us are better energy producers and burners than others; we utilize the amino acids from our diets differently.  Buce Lee was a vegeterian, wasn't he.  Maybe his diet was a factor.  Dunno.  I would say his body was composed of more "fast twitch muscles" and produced the necessary energy to utilize them.

I don't quite see how one could volitionally "will" only the type II fibers to come into play if they are both present. But I still think you're somehow right about that, too. I know about muscle memory.  Right practice will get your fingers to cooperate.  But isn't that just what the psychologists call a non-conditioned response--an operant.  Enough practice with the proper reinforcement leads to like responses (hopefully the correct ones) and speed is a by-product.  That's how I think of it.  

Here's why I consider your argument interesting.  From time to time, I'll do alot of scales.  From the start, I've always been able to do ascending faster than descending.  In fact, I have to watch that or I get ahead of my metronome and I get all out of whack.  It's the index to pinkie that slows me down and you know, that's the natural way to produce music; the index is the lead.  I've thought alot about that.  You know, when you're "drumming" your fingers on the desk as if lost in thought, I've always been much faster pinkie to index than the opposite.  Surely, my muscles in the pinkie are not stronger than the index (?)--maybe that direction of "drumming" for me uses different muscle fibers (?).  I dunno.  I certainly haven't willed it, it's not a volitional thing but it's just natural.

I haven't studied physiology since my sophomore year in college and that was decades ago.  What are you reading to get some ideas on this??
By the way, I, too have the Jamie Andreas books. I found them too slow for my taste.  I've gone back to it several times, and just found it not particularly useful for me anyway.  I've seen too many great guitarists with their fingers flying just all over the place for his method to be foremost for me.


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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline Paul Marossy

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2007, 02:29:30 PM »
Huh, very interesting! I've never heard of this concept before now. [:0]

 
quote:
I know about muscle memory. Right practice will get your fingers to cooperate. But isn't that just what the psychologists call a non-conditioned response--an operant. Enough practice with the proper reinforcement leads to like responses (hopefully the correct ones) and speed is a by-product. That's how I think of it.



That's called tactile memory. It seems to me that some people have great tactile memory, I think those are the type of people that can play anything all over the neck with their eyes closed. Some people aren't as strong in that area and have to look at what they are doing. The latter group will get criticized more, but it's not a matter of one or the other being superior - they're just different. No more or less valid than the other. That's how I see it, anyway. [8D]


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« Last Edit: September 05, 2007, 02:36:47 PM by Paul Marossy »

Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline simonlock

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2007, 02:38:04 PM »
Actually studies have shown that most people have basically the same amount of fibres with only small amounts of variance. UNLESS these muscles are trained as in athletes like sprinters etc. I've noticed that the signal from my brain associated with the type1 fibres is so strong/loud that it overrides the quiter/weaker electrical impulses sent to my type2s. This is probably why the Type1 fibres need to be shut down first.

I'm thinking that genetics aside possibly a Persons's predisposition is towards a stronger control of either Type1,2 or both.

Simon
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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline blancacat

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2007, 02:54:37 PM »
So, are we talking left-brain, right-brain sort of thing?  Is that how my brain tells the rest of my nervous system to shut down the type Is?  Or is it that the type IIs will become stronger and dominant with proper use and right practice?


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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline Paul Marossy

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2007, 04:04:25 PM »
quote:
So, are we talking left-brain, right-brain sort of thing?


I think it's more the difference between a surgeon's hands and a construction worker's hands. I don't think it's a left side/right side kind of thing, but maybe it is. Maybe that's why impressionist artists paint like they do - because they are incapable of a really delicate touch?

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« Last Edit: September 05, 2007, 04:05:09 PM by Paul Marossy »

Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline simonlock

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #6 on: September 05, 2007, 05:02:42 PM »
Obviously I'm not sure exactly why there may be a difference but Paul's annalogy sounds good. And yes the different fibers can be strengthened and the electrical circuits that control them as well. Basically MOST people will approach the guitar with type1 and very few with type2. If you've been playing for a few years and still can't play as fast as you've heard others play(except Rusty Cooley he's just a freak)then you're probably using too much of your type1s. Not that you have to like playing fast but if you have type2 control it's just as easy as playing slow passages. Type2 is also responsable for the accurate transferance of your emotions to the string.

Simon
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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline blancacat

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #7 on: September 05, 2007, 06:05:47 PM »
I think this is pretty intriguing stuff.  Where can I go to learn more about this topic??  Got a good reference that is readable??

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline simonlock

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2007, 08:01:03 PM »
What I've learned over the years has been mostly about bodybuilding or athletics. Search typeII muscle fibers on google and some stuff should come up. What I'm interested in is finding excersices that isolate the type2 fibers in the hands and forarms. It's said that plyometrics(meaning fast springy movements like jumping) is one of the top ways to train them.

I CAN feel the difference and CAN order each type seperately to fire. It's taken years of a lot of patience and fumbling around. Remember that I didn't know what I was chasing for may years. I'm trying to lay this out so that I can help others that have tension as the only thing slowing them down.

The problem for me is that my TYPE1 brain messages are so powerful and are clearly my go-to output center that over-riding it with the weaker type2 messages has and still is a struggle.

Watch Guthrie Govan play. That's ALL type2. Believe it or not Joe Satriani struggles with my same affliction. He has gotten to a certain level of coping with it but it's very clear that a lot of what he does is done with type1 muscle. Other times he's loose and uses type 2. That's how I am. Most of the time I can play with type2 but it's those pesky moments when the index type1 muscle flexs that it's like tripping a sprinter.

Simon
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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline Lwinn171

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2007, 08:43:05 PM »
This is pretty fascinating... I've often wondered about something. When I've done a bunch of work in the wood shop, I don't play as well, usually. Is it that my muscles are tired, or am I simply still in Type 1 mode? Am I in Type 1 mode mentally, physically or both? I'm confident that if I pay attention to it, I can figure it out. I've never been aware of the concept, but I'll start paying attention. My hands have been slowing me down all this time. I can think things much faster than I can play them. Granted, I'm not looking to become a shredder, but I think this may well be at the bottom of the question, "How does (your fave guitarist here) make it look so effortless?"


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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline Paul Marossy

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2007, 08:46:14 PM »
quote:
The problem for me is that my TYPE1 brain messages are so powerful and are clearly my go-to output center that over-riding it with the weaker type2 messages has and still is a struggle.


I'd suspect that this is where I am at, to some degree.

quote:
Watch Guthrie Govan play. That's ALL type2.


I'd say the same thing about Allan Holdsworth and Scott Henderson.

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline Bill

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2007, 09:03:04 PM »
http://sportsmedicine.about.com/cs/exercisephysiology/a/aa080901a.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_unit

I'm not sure one can will themselves to use fast twitch or slow twitch in a selective way. I think you go to do the task and you fire a group of muscle bundles. Then your make up within that bundle of fast twitch/slow twitch determines whether you are more suited for sprinting or long distance (or playing rythym versus shredding). Your ratio of fast twitch/slow twitch might change depending on excersize (or  more likly  the size of the cell rather than the number of cells). But I don't recall any evidence for voluntary or even learned selection of a particular muscle fiber type.

I'm no expert either and its been a long time since I studied this stuff. There may be lots of new findings since my day.

Anyway, I wonder if " Fine motor skills" versus "gross motor skills " is really what we are talking about here. This would have more to do with the ratio between nerve endings and muscle fibers. The fewer fibers controled by a single nerve ending, the more fine control (and less strength and visa versa).

Lawrence, after working out, we do seem to temporarily deplete some of our fine motor skills due to exhausting large groups of muscle bundles. I doubt you will see a microscopic surgeon pumping iron the night before a big brain surgery case and I doubt you'd find an accomplished lightning shredder pumping iron  before a conceret either. Of course Bruce Springstien would, just to get pumped up enough to roll up his sleeves but not Eric Johnson.

Interesting topic.



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« Last Edit: September 05, 2007, 09:27:05 PM by Bill »
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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline Paul Marossy

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2007, 09:14:39 PM »
quote:
Anyway, I wonder if " Fine motor skills" versus "gross motor skills " is really what we are talking about here. This would have more to do with the ratio between nerve endings and muscle fibers. The fewer fibers controled by a single nerve ending, the more fine control (and less strength and visa versa).


I had this line of thought initially. The part about nerves, anyway. What you say here makes some sense. My hands aren't all that strong, so maybe I have more nerves in my fingertips. I have very steady hands with a delicate touch. Do I qualify? [;)]

EDIT: I just thought of this, and maybe it has nothing to do with anything, but I trim my rose bushes all the time without gloves - I can pickup the clippings without gloves and not poke myself 95% of the time, even though I can feel the thorns on my fingers and hands. Seriously. Of course, I try to avoid the thorns when handling them, but if I start to feel one, I automatically back off. Sometimes they are just too sharp to do that, though. My wife tells me to wear gloves when doign gardening, but I can't stand wearing them - it feels like my hands went numb or something when I have them on.

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« Last Edit: September 05, 2007, 10:24:13 PM by Paul Marossy »

Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline simonlock

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« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2007, 10:39:20 PM »
Bill have you ever played baseball and the coach told you not to try so hard at swinging the bat? He was trying to tell you something. Don't turn on all those type1 muscles and keep it loose. It IS a CHOICE! Selecting Type1 is swinging with every muscle contracted and stiff. Type2 is swinging the bat nice and loosely letting momentum and speed increase your power. It's not how hard you swing but how fast and type1 fibers are slow. Power=mass x speed.
 
It's not something that you can pick up and automatically choose which fibers and true you may not have ABSOLUTE contrrol over which you use but you can learn to adapt your brain to use them selectively. Look at a golfers swing. They are loose and in control from start to finish. The body rotates and the arms loosely float on their pivots in an elegant arch striking the ball at incredible speed. Increasing muscle tension does not increase the force because it is neither speed or mass and only causes the arch to fall apart and the ball to slice into the brush.

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres

Offline simonlock

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Type I and Type II Muscle Fibres
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2007, 10:43:35 PM »
Lawrence, when I've been beating on ball joints of big ugly rusted trucks all day I can barely play for days and sometimes as much as a week later. My hands are so stiff that it literally requires the use of type1 fibers to overcome the stiffness. Sure it could be that they are just "turned on" but it could also be that with the damage set in the neural pathways may not be as sensitive.

Simon
Vancouver,BC