It’s becoming clear that muscle elongation is very important for accelerating hypertrophy to a new level.
In other words, loaded stretching can provide another layer of freaky size quickly.
An older study that we often reference showing that was performed by Jose Antonio, Ph.D., et al.—and it produced incredible muscle size increases. Here’s what he said about it:
I performed the study using the stretch model. I used a progressive-overload scheme whereby the [bird’s wing] was initially loaded with a weight equal to 10 percent of its weight followed by increments… Using this approach produced the greatest gains in muscle mass ever recorded in an animal or human model of tension- induced overload, up to 334 percent increase in muscle mass with up to a 90 percent increase in fiber number!
A more recent study has emerged that verifies stretch-overload as a significant get-bigger trigger…
“Stretch training induces unequal adaptation in muscle fascicles and thickness in medial and lateral gastrocnemii” [Scand J Med Sci Sports, Jan 30, 2017]
It was the calf muscles that were stretched against resistance for bouts during a six-week period. Muscle thickness increased by 5.6%. And remember, that was with ONLY stretch stimulation.
No other hypertrophic triggers were used, not even full-range movement—yet the muscles still grew quickly in just over a month’s time…
Hypertrophy researcher, Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., had this to say about the study…
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.
An interesting finding here was that at least some of the growth was due to the addition of sarcomeres in series (as opposed to in parallel growth, which is predominant in traditional training protocols). The authors speculated that muscle damage was a driving force in the growth process.
You can include a stretch move for every muscle, including incline curls for biceps, flyes for chest, and overhead extensions for triceps (see the Stretch Overload ebook for more).
It’s clear that muscle stretch is one the 3 key hypertrophy triggers you should emphasize for freaky muscle growth. In other words…
Include loaded muscle elongation for super-size stimulation!
NEWEST RELEASE: The Freak-Physique Stretch-Overload Workout contains more details on the above stretch studies, plus other mass-building research and workouts supercharged with anabolic stretch, including 20-Rep Squat, 3D Power Pyramid and Pure-Positions STX (slow-twitch exhaustion). For a limited time, you can add it to your mass-building library, a $19 value, for ONLY $9 HERE.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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