Episode 43: Dr. Andy Galpin on the Evolution of Strength & Conditioning, Fiber Type Changes, and Concurrent Training

We’re joined by Dr. Andy Galpin in Episode 43 of the Strength Ratio Podcast. Andy, who holds a PhD in human bioenergetics, is the founder and director of the Biochemistry and Molecular Exercise Laboratory at California State University, Fullerton. He is also the author of “Unplugged”, which educates readers how to “evolve from technology to upgrade your fitness, performance, & consciousness”.

We first discuss with Andy the evolution of the Exercise and Sports Science field over the past decade, and how Andy has revised his own teaching of the subject to improve practical understanding of Strength & Conditioning. In contrast to a field previously dominated by aerobic sport and, subsequently, aerobic research, we discuss the advancements of hypertrophy research, as well as the overall health benefits of resistance training.

Andy’s own research surrounds muscle fiber type and, interestingly, highlights how much more rapidly and completely fiber types can change in response to their imposed demands than was previously thought. We know that if you want to create more fast twitch fibers, you undoubtedly have to train fast and train heavy. Conversely, for slower, more enduring fibers, you have to train slower and longer. In this regard, specificity is still king — or queen.

However, because the fiber types will adapt to almost anything that is asked of them, one could train concurrently so as to gain adaptations across this fast twitch - slow twitch spectrum. Andy offers guidance as for how to succeed with this type of training, and explains how research in this field, which can ultimately improve how we program for intervals or for sports such as CrossFit, is very much unexplored. This leaves us asking, who will become for CrossFit what Brad Schoenfeld became for hypertrophy?

Zachary Greenwald