Difference Between Slow Twitch Fibers and Fast Twitch Fibers

Core difference

There are two types of fibers in our muscles, type 1 fibers which are slow twitch and type 2 fibers which are fast twitch. The main distance between the slow and fast fibers is that the slow fibers help to carry out prolonged endurance activities when running a long distance. On the other hand, fast-twitch muscles tire very easily and are used in powerful activities or movements.

What are slow twitch fibers?

The body uses slow-twitch fibers when the body requires prolonged exertion. They are type 1 fibers. These muscles are known to use an efficient amount of oxygen to produce energy in the form of ATP. When our body has to perform functions that require intense or prolonged activity, slow fibers come into play. That’s why athletes or bikers use slow-twitch fibers more because their muscles need a continuous supply of oxygen to generate ATP. Slow twitch fibers are not easily fatigued due to optimal oxygen supply. Slow twitch fibers are also called red fibers due to their dark red color, this color is determined by myoglobin in the muscle. They even use fat for energy.

What are Fast Twitch Fibers?

Fast twitch fibers adopt anaerobic metabolism to create energy for muscles. They are better when it comes to meeting the quick need for energy required by the muscle, but they tire very easily and quickly unlike slow twitch fibers. They even produce the same amount of force as slow muscles, but are capable of firing faster. Furthermore, they are divided into two types, type IIa fibers and type IIb fibers. Type IIa are fast-twitch intermediate fibers. They are known to use aerobic and anaerobic metabolism to produce energy. While type IIb uses only anaerobic metabolism. Type IIb is the classic type of fast twitch muscle.

Key differences
  1. Our body uses slow-twitch fibers for longer-lasting activity, while fast-twitch fibers provide a quick burst of energy.
  2. There is an additional classification of fast twitch fibers.
  3. Fast twitch fibers are known to fire faster compared to slow twitch fibers.
  4. Slow fibers are not easily fatigued because an optimal amount of oxygen is delivered to the muscle, but fast twitch fibers tend to be easily fatigued.
  5. Slow fibers are also called red fibers because they are fleshy red in color. Their dark red color denotes the amount of myoglobin present in them.

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