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Stretching For Muscle Growth.
When it comes to muscle building, different exercises have different
benefits. Like squats helps in building leg’s muscles than a leg
Similarly, stretching has its own benefits in muscle building.
We already know that, when it comes to muscle building, stretching is
probably the last thing you’ll think about, but it plays a crucial role in
Studies show that applying high pressure on muscles in their stretched
position can have to two extremely important effects in muscle
First is the activation of muscle fibers. They fire in larger number
which is needed for muscle growth.
And the second one is stretch-position training, which is very powerful
but no human studies have confirmed it.
This effect is known as ‘hyperplasia’ which means muscle fiber
splitting. In this condition when high tension is applied on muscle
fiber in stretched position, a single muscle fiber may actually split-up
into two. More muscle fiber means more overall potential growth.
In order to fully understand the importance of stretching, we need to
unravel one more important thing – The Fascia.
What is the fascia?
Fascia is a connective tissue that encloses every muscle fiber in our
body. Fascia is responsible for holding your muscles in their proper
place in your body. Think of it as like a pillow case in which you stuffed
cotton up to the brim. Now if the case is bigger the same amount of
cotton will get more space to occupy and it will expand accordingly.
Similarly the fascia is holding back your muscle growth. You train
them and feed them properly. They want to grow and now have
acquired the potential to grow but they have no space to grow and
expand. Your fascia is hindering your muscle growth.
Fascia is tough, so it doesn’t allow muscle to expand. The size of the
muscle group won’t change regardless how much you train and feed
them because the connective tissue encloses them won’t allow it.
Now the Solution – Stretching.
Stretching when done in a specific way, you can actually stretch your
fascia that provides muscles more room to grow. The key to effective
fascial stretching is the pump.
The best time to stretch to enlarge the bags that are encapsulating in
your muscles is when muscles are pumped up full of blood.
When your muscles are fully pumped they exert pressure against
fascia. By stretching those muscles at that time you’ll greatly enhanced
the pressures which can ultimately results into fascial extension that
provide muscles more space to grow.
Best stretches to perform for Optimizing Muscle Growth.
1. T-Stretch (For Chest).
While standing, extend arms out to your sides until they are
parallel to the floor.
Slowly, bring them back as far as you can.
Hold for 5-10 second.
2. One arm-lat stretch (For Back).
With one arm extended, grab onto something.
Tug back until you feel a stretch in your lats.
Hold for 5-10 seconds.
3. Dead Hang (For Lats).
Hang from a pull-up bar and feel a good stretch in your lats
and your whole back.
4. Doorway stretch (For Shoulders and Biceps).
Position yourself in the center of a doorway.
Grab onto both ends of the doorframe and while keeping
your feet in place.
Let your body come forward until you feel a stretch in your
5. One-arm tricep stretch (For Triceps).
With one of your arms bent behind your head so your elbow is
facing towards the ceiling.
Pull towards the opposite arm until a stretch is felt in the
6. One-leg back stretch (For Quads).
While standing, grab one of your feet .
Bring it behind you as far as possible until you feel a deep
stretch in your quad and hold.
7. Seated leg stretch (For Hamstrings).
While sitting, extend one or both legs .
While keeping your back straight, lean forward as far as you
can so you feel a stretch in your hamstrings .
Hold for a few seconds.
When you stretch hard enough to make the fascia really expand, you’ll
feel it. When fascia is stretched, you’ll feel a powerful pulling sensation
and pressure as the muscles expand against it.
It is advisable not to stretch too hard that you cause tearing of muscles
or any injury.
Hold stretch for about 20-30 seconds to put necessary pressure on
fascia. Also stretch hard only if your muscles are fully pumped with
blood in order to make them expand against fascia.
If your muscle are not fully pumped them perform normal stretching.
It is recommended to perform one set of hard stretching after each set
you do for a muscle group. It can have awesome effect on the size of
your muscles and their ability to grow.
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