Stretching Can Explode Your Muscle Growth
Not only is stretching important for flexibility, it is
CRITICAL for massive, rapid muscle growth.
When you think about gaining muscle, stretching is probably not the first thing
that pops into your head. But did you know that stretching plays a critical
role in building muscle?
Every muscle in your body
is enclosed in a bag of tough connective tissue known as fascia. Fascia is important
for holding your muscles in their proper place in your body. But
your fascia may also be holding back your muscle growth. Think for a moment
about your muscles. You train them and feed them properly. They want to grow
and will grow but something is holding them back. They have no room to grow!
Because fascia is so tough,
it doesn't allow the muscle room to expand. It is like stuffing a large pillow
into a small pillowcase. The size of the muscle won't change regardless of how
hard you train or how well you eat because the connective tissue around your
muscles is constricting the muscles within.
The best example of this
is the calf muscle. The lower leg is riddled with fascia because of its tremendous
weight-bearing duties in the body. It is because of this fascia that many trainers
have great difficulty developing their calves.
The solution: stretching.
Using the pillowcase example
from above, imagine you can expand the size of the pillowcase by stretching
it. Suddenly, the pillow within has more room and will expand to fill that new
space. By stretching
your muscles under specific conditions, you can actually stretch your fascia
and give your muscles more room to grow.
The key to effective fascial
stretching is the pump. The best time to stretch to expand the bags that are
holding in your muscles is when your muscles are pumped up full of blood.
When your muscles are fully
pumped up, they are pressing against the fascia. By stretching hard at that
time, you increase that pressure on the fascia greatly, which can lead to expansion
of the fascia.
One of the major reasons
Arnold Schwarzenegger had such incredible chest development was that he finished
his chest workouts with dumbell flyes, an exercise that emphasizes the stretched
position of the pectoral muscles. He would pump his chest up full of blood during
the workout then do flyes, holding the stretch at the bottom of the flye. This
gave his chest room to grow to amazing proportions.
Fascial stretching is more
rigorous than regular stretching but the results can be amazing. When you stretch
hard enough to cause the fascia to expand, you will really feel it! When you
are stretching the fascia, you should feel a powerful pulling sensation and
pressure as the muscle works against the fascia to expand it.
Be sure you do not stretch
so hard that you cause the muscle to tear or cause injury to yourself. You will
rapidly learn to distinguish the difference between a good stretch and a bad
stretch. You should not feel any sharp pain, just a steady pull.
Hold each stretch for at
least 20 to 30 seconds as you must give your fascia time to be affected by the
stretch. Stretch hard like this only when you have a fully pumped muscle as
you must give your fascia a reason to expand. If your muscles aren't pumped,
just stretch normally.
One set of hard stretching
after each set you do for a muscle group, besides the obvious benefits of increased
flexibility, can have an incredible effect on the size of your muscles and their
further ability to grow.
Nick Nilsson is Vice-President
of BetterU, Inc., an internet-based personal training company. He has been training
for more than 14 years and has been a personal trainer for more than 8 years.
He is the author of the training eBooks "The Best Exercises You've Never
Heard Of", "Gluteus to the Maximus" and "Specialization
here now for more information on these books).
Reprinted from Fitness-Ebooks.Com
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