Difference Between Fast and Slow Twitch Muscles

The skeletal muscles include different muscles that join the bones with the tendons. Two skeletal muscles are meant to help in performing varied tasks are – fast-twitch muscles and slow-twitch muscles. Even these muscles comprise approximately 40% of the entire body mass.


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Fast Twitch Muscles vs Slow Twitch Muscles

The difference between Fast Twitch Muscles and Slow Twitch Muscles is that it lies in their name itself that is fast-twitch muscles are the ones that contract at a faster rate while comparatively, on the other hand, the slow-twitch muscles are the ones that contract at a very slow rate.

Fast Twitch Muscles vs Slow Twitch Muscles

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The other name used for these types of muscles is – Type II muscle. These are the muscles that get stressed very easily and are further bifurcated in other two types that is – Type II a and Type II b.

The second name used for these types of muscles is – Type I muscle. These muscles appeared bright red and contain a huge amount of myoglobin in them and comprise almost 80% of the entire human body.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonFast Twitch MusclesSlow Twitch Muscles
DefinitionRequired for extensive work but for a short timeContracts at a slow pace and doesn’t get easily fatigued
Another NameType – II muscleType – I muscle
Speed of ActionFastSlow
Type of RespirationAnaerobic and aerobicAerobic
Blood supplyPoorGood
Consumption of OxygenFastSlow
Myoglobin AmountLessMore
Mitochondria AmountLessMore
Oxygen Consumption EfficiencyLessMore
ColorPale (or white fibres)Deep Red (or red fibres)
Fuel UsedBurns the body fatBurns the body glucose
Best forSprinting, heavy weight lifters, etcCycling, marathon runner, etc

What is Fast Twitch Muscles?

Fast-twitch muscles are one of the types of skeletal muscles that are much needed for performing various activities of daily lives. They are also known by a different name and that is – Type II muscles which are also bifurcated in other two types – Type II a and Type II b.

Type II a are the muscles that mainly perform the anaerobic activities but for up to 30 minutes or less than it and contain a certain good number of mitochondrial cells. While Type II b are the muscles that also perform the anaerobic activity but the time duration is limited to 1 minute or less than it.

The blood supply in the muscle fibers is very poor because of which the appearance of the muscle fibers is very pale and they are referred to as white muscle fibers.

What is Slow Twitch Muscles?

Slow-twitch muscles are also among the types of skeletal muscles that help in performing various activities of the body for daily lives. And another name used for the muscle fibers commonly is said to be – Type I muscle fibers.

These muscles are a great source of blood supply which makes them appear in deep red color which is why they are also referred to by the name red fibers. The amount of myoglobin and the number of mitochondrial cells in the muscle fiber is large.

On an average basis, these slow-twitch fibers cover 80% of the human body as they connect the bone with tendons.

Main Differences Between Fast and Slow Twitch Muscles

  1. With continuous use of fast-twitch fibers the individual easily gets fatigued while, with the use of slow twitch fibers the individual doesn’t get easily fatigued.
  2. The fast-twitch muscle is mainly good for the person lifting heavy weights, a sprinter while, the slow-twitch muscle is good for a marathon runner or a cyclist, etc. 
  1. https://journals.lww.com/investigativeradiology/Abstract/2001/12000/Effects_of_Aging_on_Muscle_T2_Relaxation_Time_.3.aspx
  2. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/ajpcell.1992.263.3.C598
  3. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/ajpregu.1997.272.3.r849
  4. https://journals.physiology.org/doi/abs/10.1152/jappl.1979.47.2.263
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