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Muscle fiber types

xristos

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Sep 5, 2013
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Greece
There is debate in freediving, and I stumbled upon one in another forum, is it unaerobic or aerobic sport.
But why does it matter?
Most will answer, to train appropriately.

In my opinion the answer lies in fiber types. The less slow oxidative fibers we have, the lower Vo2max (?) will be and therefore higher anaerobic glycolysis contribution in the total energy for the dive for a given effort intensity. Having more fast glycolytic fiber will mean more capacity for managing unaerobic glycolysis waste products and acidity. (?) The aerobic system will always keep up with it's share of the load for athlete.
But... does lowering Vo2max equal higher basal metabolism O2 consumption?

How do we train our fast glycolytic fibers? There are many ways people go about it, sprints, high weights low reps, medium to high reps, occlusion training, explosive lifting, etc. What is the most sound method(s) in your opinion bearing in mind we aim to sustain the most anaerobic work with no recovery for the duration.

Are strength exercises performed on breathhold (small % of 1RM) a piece in the puzzle?

How far from competition should we train such adaptations ?
In my opinion, far(1st of 4 mesocycles), with the exception of apnea strength exercises. What do you think?
 
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7BDiver

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Training muscles is very straight forward but is only a small part of the equation, metabolic efficiency is essential when conservation of O2 is the goal. Most of this is achieved by a healthy diet, metabolic syndromes will greatly affect energy usage and mental state. I think ones body will chose the best metabolism for diving well enough on its own but being healthy is entirely up to us.
 

xristos

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2013
138
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Greece
Training muscles is very straight forward but is only a small part of the equation, metabolic efficiency is essential when conservation of O2 is the goal. Most of this is achieved by a healthy diet, metabolic syndromes will greatly affect energy usage and mental state. I think ones body will chose the best metabolism for diving well enough on its own but being healthy is entirely up to us.
This link is just an advertisement making bold claims and stating well known facts without any actual study nor analysis for the former. Or I am missing something?

We as freedivers want to limit lipolysis to the minimum because its terribly o2 inefficient.

Ones body will choose the correct adaptations if you practice the activity a lot. If the target activity is competition freediving ( one dive ) there is an oxymoron in using this method as I see it... Doing tons of shorter dynamics can help in some parts but it isn't good enough on it's own. Depth diving lots also has its' limitations.
 
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7BDiver

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It is a generalized statement based off metabolic syndrome research cited at the bottom of the article. Most research is going to be based off of overweight unhealthy people which is not a stimulating read, but will show how healthy metabolism will be significantly more oxygen and energy efficient. Lypolysis is very efficient for energy production(19x more than glycolysis), this is why aquatic mamals stick to an aerobic dive limit, they just happen to carry a lot more blood with other oxygen storage adaptations.

ST muscle fibers have a little better lactate oxidativecapacity than FT muscle but Iassume a significant amount of lactate goes to the liver. Athletes with more ST muscles have a higher lactate threshold.

With regards to limiting lypolisys having a high VO2 max is not entirely detrimental. Improved atletic fitness comes with a better sensitivity and stronger vasoconstriction response when exposed to colder conditions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719941/
For diving purposes it is convenient that sympathetic vasoconstriction is less blunted with lower exertion helping reach anaerobic metabolism. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00984.2006

Hopefully this is not too far off topic but may be relevant to achieving an anaerobic transition for training or diving.
 

xristos

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2013
138
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Greece
It is a generalized statement based off metabolic syndrome research cited at the bottom of the article. Most research is going to be based off of overweight unhealthy people which is not a stimulating read, but will show how healthy metabolism will be significantly more oxygen and energy efficient. Lypolysis is very efficient for energy production(19x more than glycolysis), this is why aquatic mamals stick to an aerobic dive limit, they just happen to carry a lot more blood with other oxygen storage adaptations.

ST muscle fibers have a little better lactate oxidativecapacity than FT muscle but Iassume a significant amount of lactate goes to the liver. Athletes with more ST muscles have a higher lactate threshold.

With regards to limiting lypolisys having a high VO2 max is not entirely detrimental. Improved atletic fitness comes with a better sensitivity and stronger vasoconstriction response when exposed to colder conditions. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5719941/
For diving purposes it is convenient that sympathetic vasoconstriction is less blunted with lower exertion helping reach anaerobic metabolism. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/full/10.1152/japplphysiol.00984.2006

Hopefully this is not too far off topic but may be relevant to achieving an anaerobic transition for training or diving.
It's too abstract, what is a healthy metabolism? how is it achieved ?
I disagree, lypolysis is not particularly energy efficient. It just runs on a fuel we have lot's of. More importantly ( and that's what I said in my previous post) for us freedivers lypolysis is not O2 efficient it doesn't produce enough ATP / O2.

That is a little more complicated I think, maybe fast glycolytic fiber produces more energy before it reaches that lower lactate threshold also how they convert that lactate could be more important. Yes, slow twitch has higher oxidative capacity of lactate but why is this useful for us ? In my view it's not.

That's an intersting study, it raises question what happens when you compare the vasoconstriction ability of a reasonably fit freediver and an athlete that is in general very fit? Study demonstrates that fitness is one factor to vasoconstriction but not the only.
 

7BDiver

Member
Sep 5, 2019
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Sandpoint Idaho
A healthy metabolism is very difficult to assess qualitatively. Every individual would need a specific diet tailored for them to achieve the best results. The best tools we have in modern medicine are biomarkers that can be analyzed from blood, urine and other means. Biomarkers give the individual the means to focus on areas that need improvement and track progress. Although an exhaustive read, this research article can provide a good overview of how to assess metabolic health and target problem areas. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567133/#!po=3.98773

I am not sure how to interpret lypolysis O2 efficiency compared to glycolysis as the resulting lactate will be oxidized exclusively by aerobic metabolism during or upon recovery of a dive. There is not likely much advantage other than the low fatigability and ability to metabolize lactate. My guess is that ST muscles would help keep lactate from spiking too much during vasoconstriction delaying fatigue.
 

Nathan Vinski

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2015
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@xristos, to answer you first questions..

In my opinion it doesn't matter whether or not freediving is (primarily) aerobic or anaerobic, even for training.

The most important thing we need to worry about is generating sport specific fitness.. which is done by training the sport itself, at appropriate intensity levels, with an andaquate volume of training..

For example (very simple) doing 3x 65% of your CWT PB 3x/week for 3 months.. will cause your body,mind,nervous system to adjust to the demands of the sport and work optimally for those demands.

--

Cross training (anything out of the water) always helps but isn't a "difference maker".

There's no "magic" cross training that will drastically change our O2 consumption..

Do general strength training to keep the type 2a and 2b fibres healthy.

Do general endurance training to keep the type 1 fibres healthy (and heart).

Then focus on sport specific training (freediving tailored to the goal of your training cycle) to optimize the fibres for freediving.

Like you said.. cross training (any kind) has more value at the beginning of the cycle.. towards the end and especially during peaking-training, any cross training is essentially useless as it's a counter-stimulus to the extreme-specificity you need during peaking-training..
 
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xristos

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2013
138
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Greece
@xristos, to answer you first questions..

In my opinion it doesn't matter whether or not freediving is (primarily) aerobic or anaerobic, even for training.

The most important thing we need to worry about is generating sport specific fitness.. which is done by training the sport itself, at appropriate intensity levels, with an andaquate volume of training..

For example (very simple) doing 3x 65% of your CWT PB 3x/week for 3 months.. will cause your body,mind,nervous system to adjust to the demands of the sport and work optimally for those demands.

--

Cross training (anything out of the water) always helps but isn't a "difference maker".

There's no "magic" cross training that will drastically change our O2 consumption..

Do general strength training to keep the type 2a and 2b fibres healthy.

Do general endurance training to keep the type 1 fibres healthy (and heart).

Then focus on sport specific training (freediving tailored to the goal of your training cycle) to optimize the fibres for freediving.

Like you said.. cross training (any kind) has more value at the beginning of the cycle.. towards the end and especially during peaking-training, any cross training is essentially useless as it's a counter-stimulus to the extreme-specificity you need during peaking-training..
Pool sessions? It is cross training if you do it when your target discipline is depth. Im trying to figure out how to periodize my pool training. Thinking about co2 "tables" underwater and sprints surface (with mini fin and big swimming hands maybe). Sprints should evolve into underwater sprint and add o2 sessions. Around 5 months. How long should each phase be? What do you think of the sessions?
 

Nathan Vinski

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2015
259
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Canada
Pool sessions? It is cross training if you do it when your target discipline is depth. Im trying to figure out how to periodize my pool training. Thinking about co2 "tables" underwater and sprints surface (with mini fin and big swimming hands maybe). Sprints should evolve into underwater sprint and add o2 sessions. Around 5 months. How long should each phase be? What do you think of the sessions?
Pool (underwater) is lower-specificity but still fits within the sport.. in my opinion it's very helpful for depth, up to around 2 months from comp/peaking..

Surface swimming in the pool is cross training.. this could be helpful early on like you said.. as a way to prepare yourself for underwater sprints.. but probably won't be the best use of your time.

My way if sorting.. if you have access to pool only 1-2 time per week.. avoid any pool-cross training as it's a waste of your very limited time to do apnea.. if you can go to the pool 3-4 times a week.. then maybe doing 20% cross training in the pool could be worth it. (At least during the first 1/3 of your training cycle) The majority should still be apnea..

The other question is recovery.. if you have enough energy to do surface swimming after apnea training, you probably didn't do enough apnea training for that session.. if you do enough apnea, then doing surface swimming will negatively affect your ability to recover, so it's a balance.. in my opinion, favour the apnea 80% if the time, and add in the surface cross stuff when you're a little bored of apnea and want a little change that still might be a little useful.
 

xristos

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2013
138
33
68
24
Greece
Pool (underwater) is lower-specificity but still fits within the sport.. in my opinion it's very helpful for depth, up to around 2 months from comp/peaking..

Surface swimming in the pool is cross training.. this could be helpful early on like you said.. as a way to prepare yourself for underwater sprints.. but probably won't be the best use of your time.

My way if sorting.. if you have access to pool only 1-2 time per week.. avoid any pool-cross training as it's a waste of your very limited time to do apnea.. if you can go to the pool 3-4 times a week.. then maybe doing 20% cross training in the pool could be worth it. (At least during the first 1/3 of your training cycle) The majority should still be apnea..

The other question is recovery.. if you have enough energy to do surface swimming after apnea training, you probably didn't do enough apnea training for that session.. if you do enough apnea, then doing surface swimming will negatively affect your ability to recover, so it's a balance.. in my opinion, favour the apnea 80% if the time, and add in the surface cross stuff when you're a little bored of apnea and want a little change that still might be a little useful.
I was hearing to Vitomir Maricic freedivecafe podcast and he told when asked about training "if I had to take one skill (to train the second year if he had yearly macrocycles ) that would be explosive power and speed" In general he mentions repetitive explosive power many times. It is so counter intuitive to train that way for freediving to me. If Vitomir says so it must work. But why ? We aren't explosive nor fast in a Dive or dynamic. :unsure:
 

Nathan Vinski

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2015
259
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Canada
I was hearing to Vitomir Maricic freedivecafe podcast and he told when asked about training "if I had to take one skill (to train the second year if he had yearly macrocycles ) that would be explosive power and speed" In general he mentions repetitive explosive power many times. It is so counter intuitive to train that way for freediving to me. If Vitomir says so it must work. But why ? We aren't explosive nor fast in a Dive or dynamic. :unsure:
Explosive work trains type 2b muscle fibres which have the least capilaries and therefore reciece /consume the least O2.

In theory, if you were to convert your muscle mass to type 2b through training, you'd switch to anaerobic respiration very early in a dive. (This was my opinion for a long time)..

There's just one problem. Changing the ratio of your muscle fibres takes years of extremely specific muscle training, and even then the change will be minimal. Maybe if you start with 1/3 each fibre type.. years of explosive training may cause you to end up with..

33.3% type 1
30% type 2a
36.6% type 2b (3.3% increase).

Different type 2s can change, type ,1 cannot change***

However there are problems (for freediving) that come with this..

The (years) of specific explosive training will;

  • Make you too bulky for freediving.
  • Create inefficient / unhealthy type 1 fibres
  • Neglected cardiovascular health (high metabolic O2 consumption)
  • Also, means you didn't train freediving for upwards of 10 years just for a few percent extra type 2b fibres.
So, in theory it makes sense to do a lot of explosive work.. but really when you look at how little it's possible to change the fibres, and that it takes a lifetime of dedication to do so.. it stops making sense in practice.

(Just to be clear, sprints with fins wouldn't be able to achieve this anyway. The safest bet would be something like Olympic lifting and close variations, for 1-2 reps at very high weights.. like 150kg clean and jerk, 100+ kg snatch or power-snatch... So it would take years of training just to reach the level that you could lift heavy enough, day after day, to elicit fibre type conversion).

It's a much safer bet to train all 3 types of fibres and simply have healthy, efficient, functional muscles on a whole.
 
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Nathan Vinski

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Apr 19, 2015
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Therefore if a freediver hits the gym he should do explosive low rep ?
In my opinion a freediver should do;

Basic strength training: 5sets of 5 reps in compound movements: squat, deadlift, bench or overhead press, pull-ups. With experience more complicated compound movements with lower reps can be added in (Turkish get-up, power clean or snatch, kettle bell mivements.. etc).

&

Basic steady state cardio.. I prefere cycling, but running, rowing, swimming all work great, at a threshold pace for 30-60 minutes.
 

xristos

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2013
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Greece
In my opinion a freediver should do;

Basic strength training: 5sets of 5 reps in compound movements: squat, deadlift, bench or overhead press, pull-ups. With experience more complicated compound movements with lower reps can be added in (Turkish get-up, power clean or snatch, kettle bell mivements.. etc).

&

Basic steady state cardio.. I prefere cycling, but running, rowing, swimming all work great, at a threshold pace for 30-60 minutes.
Excuse my ignorance but should we aim to be explosive with our drills to gain explosiveness?
Why not more basic exercises like machines that target muscles more isolated and are for safe for beginners?
 

7BDiver

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Sep 5, 2019
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Outside of any potential benefit for performance gains in diving, higher intensity training may be important to retain and improve muscle mass, fiber size and capillary density when exposed to hypoxic conditions extensively. It appears that hypoxia and low cellular energy levels reduce the synthesis, while simultaneously increasing the degradation of muscle protein. In contrast, normoxic conditions and high cellular energy levels would facilitate hypertrophy by inducing protein synthesis and by limiting the rate of degradation. Over time, slow and steady activity exacerbated by hypoxia will result in small muscle fiber cross-section and reduced capillarization. The muscle fiber type–fiber size paradox: hypertrophy or oxidative metabolism? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957584/
 
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Nathan Vinski

Well-Known Member
Apr 19, 2015
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Canada
Excuse my ignorance but should we aim to be explosive with our drills to gain explosiveness?
Why not more basic exercises like machines that target muscles more isolated and are for safe for beginners?
Like I said, I completely understand the theory as to why Vitomir would suggest explosive exercises.. but it's not that easy to become explosive.. the time a freediver could spend weigh training isn't enough to actually build explosiveness (you'd need to weight train full time for years).. however, general strength is easier and more practical to build..

Secondly, explosive exercises are quite advanced and dangerous to do without a very strong base of strength to support it.. again, you'd practically need to weight train full time to develop this base, which isn't practical as a freediver..

--

Machines are actually much more dangerous for beginners.. (it only takes about a day with a weightlifting coach to get decent technique to avoid injury on basic compound movements)

Unless you know exactly how your specific body should move, and can fine tune the machine to match exactly your movement patterns, it's very easy to create overuse injuries or tweak a ligament.

Also, unless your completely aware of what your doing, it's almost impossible to maintain balanced strength increases with machines.. if you increase quad strength 10% but only increase glute and hamstring strength by 5% you'll mess up your knees and back..
 

xristos

Well-Known Member
Sep 5, 2013
138
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Greece
Outside of any potential benefit for performance gains in diving, higher intensity training may be important to retain and improve muscle mass, fiber size and capillary density when exposed to hypoxic conditions extensively. It appears that hypoxia and low cellular energy levels reduce the synthesis, while simultaneously increasing the degradation of muscle protein. In contrast, normoxic conditions and high cellular energy levels would facilitate hypertrophy by inducing protein synthesis and by limiting the rate of degradation. Over time, slow and steady activity exacerbated by hypoxia will result in small muscle fiber cross-section and reduced capillarization. The muscle fiber type–fiber size paradox: hypertrophy or oxidative metabolism? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2957584/
So do hypoxic DYN apnea tables get the body into signalling muscle mitochondrial density and capillarization increase? Doesn't make sense to me... Since the nature of the activitiy is intermittent it should improve buffering capacity, right? Or does it mean it is an example of the scenario that the body cant at the same time signal hypertrophy and oxidative capacity. But oxidative capacity should only be relevant for 10 20 seconds after the dive, i dont think this holds up.
 

7BDiver

Member
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Sandpoint Idaho
There is conflicting research as to whether hypoxic conditions stimulate increased capitalization as studied in high altitude adaptation but most studies imply no change for skeletal muscles. Hypoxic conditions will increase degradation of muscle and slow synthesis if the oxidative stress is elevated. The idea is that high intensity exercises will improve muscle strength, performance and reduce the rate of degradation in hypoxic conditions due to increased capitalization. I am not sure how this will affect buffering capacity. The oxidative capacity will be important at any point in the dive as there is a balance between aerobic and anaerobic states and never completely biased.
 
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