Dr. Jacob Wilson, who used to write for Iron Man when we worked there, did a study recently with a technique we have recommended over the years—stretch holds, or Stat-X.
Dr. Wilson calls it “intraset stretching.” In his study, the subjects who included intraset stretching DOUBLED muscle thickness compared to those who did not use it. It’s an amazingly effective way to double your muscle growth.
This method takes advantage of two important mechanisms of hypertrophy: It increases muscular tension, which leads to more damage, and it increases the cell-swelling response. Activating these mechanisms leads to more growth.
How do you do it? Well, it works best on stretch exercises in Positions of Flexion—incline curls for biceps, overhead extensions for triceps, flyes for chest, etc.
Dr. Wilson’s study used leg press calf raises for gastroc stretch. To incorporate intraset stretching, simply do a stretch-hold at the end of a 12-rep set. The study had subjects hold for 30 seconds after each full-range stretch-position-exercise set.
You can also do stand-alone stretch-hold sets, which may be even more effective at supercharging muscle growth…
The bird study we have cited over the years that was performed by Dr. Jose Antonio in 1993 used only a stretch-hold for an extended period. (Med Sci Sports Exerc. 25:1333-45; 1993)
That progressive stretch resistance on a bird’s wing over many weeks produced a 300 percent increase in muscle growth—tripling muscle size. Impressive!
If you’re interested in a more comprehensive look at stretch-holds for supercharging your muscle-size increases to double your muscle growth…
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson