Muscle structure is critical to achieving good performance in football, one of the most popular sports in the world. This review article aims to explain the effect of muscle fiber types on athletic performance in football based on the current literature. The muscles in the human body can be divided into cardiac, smooth, and striated (skeletal); the last of these affects athletic performance. Muscle fibers are classified into three different types.  Type I (oxidative), which is red in color, is generally employed in long-term and slow-paced physical activity and is well-developed in athletes who engage in endurance sports. Type II muscle fibers are further divided into Type IIa (glycolytic oxidative) and Type IIb (glycolytic). Type IIb muscle fiber is white and contracts with great force in short-term physical activity and is crucial for sports requiring speed and strength. Type IIa is pink in color and possesses the shared features of Type I and Type IIb muscle fibers, including prolonged speed and strength. A literature search of the electronic databases Web of Science, PubMed, Medline, Cochrane Library, ULAKBİM (Turkish Academic Network and Information Center) and Google Scholar was conducted. Examination of acute and chronic studies investigating the metabolic effects of muscles on performance in football revealed that muscle fiber types differed according to the physical characteristics and training principles employed by the players. In addition, muscle fiber types were also different based on gender. The latter finding is explained by the fact that men have a larger body structure and greater muscle mass than women. Given that endurance, speed, and strength are key components of football, both Type I and Type II muscle fibers are important. Since the tasks undertaken by football players differ based on the position they play, the ratios of their muscle fiber types may also vary. Hence, the level of development of various muscle fiber types in football players constitutes an important aspect of athletic performance.


Football, striated muscle, fibril type