Q: Your Positions-of-Flexion mass training is great! Using the 3D Muscle Building e-book and workouts, I’ve designed different programs for myself with the three-exercises full-range stimulation, and I credit POF with the 50 pounds of muscle I’ve built over the years. Thank you. My question is, What do you think about starting with the stretch-position exercise for each POF bodypart routine? Stretch is one of the biggest mass stimulators because of that muscle elongation, so why not start with it?
A: Your question reminded us that years ago we experimented with the stretch-move-first method, and it produced such good gains that a video was created, “Hypercontraction Training.”
For example, you train a few sets of FLYES first for pec stretch overload. Then you work bench presses (midrange) and end with cable crossovers (contracted)…
A lot of trainees who tried it raved about the new muscle size they built with it, but it wasn’t that great for strength. Back then, we equated strength increases with mass, so the stretch-exercise-first method faded. We didn’t get much stronger on the midrange exercises, so we thought it wasn’t working. How wrong we were.
Now we know that building loads of SIZE is the direct result of expansion of the sarcoplasm, the muscle energy fluid, as well as thickening of the myofibrils, the force-generating strands. Interesting that stretch-position moves can build BOTH of those muscle-size constituents thanks to that muscle elongation…
In addition, stretch-position exercises “trick” a majority of fibers to fire, including many dormant ones. That’s because putting a muscle into full elongation against resistance triggers an emergency response, calling multiple fiber types into action to prevent injury (the stretch position is considered traumatic by your nervous system, so it “shocks” exceptional muscle innervation)…
In other words, you can get at new fibers with stretch overload—and the more fibers you call into play, the faster you can pack on new mass.
We often discuss the animal study that produced a 300 percent muscle-mass gain after only one month of stretch-only “workouts.” No other training was performed other than stretch overload, and that’s all it took to produce a triple-size increase. Pretty incredible…
That shows the power of stretch-position exercises in POF: stiff-legged deadlifts for hams, sissy squats for quads, pullovers for lats, cable laterals for side delts, overhead extensions for triceps, etc. (see 3D Muscle Building for a POF exercise list, bodypart analysis and workouts).
When we spoke with Doug Brignole, a Mr. American winner and expert on muscle function, he said the best exercises for mass are those that have the most resistance at the stretch point with the least at contraction.
Give stretch-move-first training a try to pack on new muscle size. Let us know how you GROW.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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