Q: The Double-X stretch method you describe in the last chapter of the Stretch Overload ebook really got me sore. All I did was add one set of the stretch exercise for each muscle [listed in chapter 1] with Double-X to my current workout. My question is, do you think just doing a heavy straight set of the stretch move would be better? For Double-X I have to use a lighter weight to get the hitch at the bottom of each rep.
A: Glad to hear that you were able to Double-X your muscle mass. For the uninitiated, Double-X Overload is simply a partial rep at the point of stretch between each full rep.
For example, on incline curls, you lower to full stretch, pull up about 8 inches, lower to full stretch again, then pull all the way to the top. Here is Steve demonstrating…
So you’re really getting two full stretches per rep. Is that better than just a heavier regular set of incline curls? Possibly.
Consider this quote from Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., regarding a recent study with only moderate-resistance stretch [“Stretch training induces unequal adaptation in muscle fascicles and thickness in medial and lateral gatrocnemii,” Scand J Med Sci Sports, Jan 30, 2017]…
Studies in animals have shown that loaded stretch is a potent stimulus for muscle growth, most notably shown by the early work of Jose Antonio…. [But] this is the first study I’m aware to show that a relatively modest loaded stretching protocol produces significant hypertrophy in humans.
Notice the words “modest loaded stretching” and “significant hypertrophy.” Exciting stuff!
So why not alternate? For example, at one biceps workout use lighter incline curls with Double-X; at your next biceps workout increase the weight and do a heavy set of incline curls.
You’ll effectively Double-X your muscle mass for a double dose of freaky growth.
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Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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