Dr. Jacob Wilson, who used to write for Iron Man when we worked there, recently performed a study 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. Amazing.
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, which we I.D. in the Stretch Overload ebook. (Note: One of the programs in that ebook uses stretch holds for every muscle as an anabolic finisher.)
For example, 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.
And if you can’t hold for that long, just grit your teeth and do it for as long as possible (sometimes we only manage 10 seconds, but add time at each workout).
Dr. Wilson says his motivation to test this was the bird study we have cited over the years that was performed by Dr. Jose Antonio in 1993. (Med Sci Sports Exerc. 25:1333-45; 1993) Progressive stretch resistance on a bird’s wing over many weeks produced a 300 percent increase in muscle growth. Impressive!
The bottom line: Incorporate stretch-position exercises and the stretch-hold method in your training for freak-physique gaining.
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Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
ATTENTION OVER-40 BODYBUILDERS
One of the most interesting read-me pages on Testosterone and other muscle-building hormones we’ve seen is The Truth About Testosterone.
It even talks about a fruit, a specific part, that can up your T naturally. Cranking up your testosterone will not only get you jacked in the gym, but in the bedroom too—not to mention help rip up your midsection as it ignites fat burning. If that interests you, there’s more from our colleague and registered dietician, HERE.