I’ve talked about these change-to-gain methods so far…
1) Exercise switch
2) Altered rep speed
Next on my list is…
3) Stretch overload. I’m not talking about a routine of freehand stretching moves on a ballet bar. I’m talking about emphasizing the stretch area of the stroke of any exercise. Why?
Research is showing that you get the most hypertrophy from the stretch part of the stroke, be it from enhanced fiber recruitment or unique area-specific development….
Eight-time Mr. Olympia emphasized the stretch all over his workouts, like on heavy shrugs, and his traps were none too shabby (snapshots from Mitsuru Okabe video productions)…
The stretch is supremely important. The first third of the stroke where the target muscle is elongated is a deciding factor in fiber recruitment, something you shouldn’t take lightly—literally…
That brings me to the three best tactics I’ve found to emphasize muscle size via the stretch: X-Reps, Double-X Overload, Stretch-Pause
X-Reps: At the end of a set, move into the stretch position and fire out two to four piston-like 10-inch partials—one-third reps.
Double-X Overload: Use a 10-inch X-Rep partial in the stretch position between every full rep—an entire series of 1 1/3 reps.
Stretch-Pause: Lower in three seconds, hold the stretch position for one second, then explosively blast up the positive rep.
Stretch-Pause is probably the most controversial of the three. That’s because some researchers claim a pause increases fiber recruitment, as it diffuses the stretch-shortening cycle, or myotatic reflex.
Other researchers claim you should not pause because when the myotatic reflex is triggered, it produces an emergency response and MORE fibers are recruited to prevent injury.
Either way, it provides excellent variation to normal continuous action for a unique hypertrophy reaction…
I’ll have more on this in future newsletters and Old Man Young Muscle 2. For now, you may want to give it a try on one set per muscle every other workout as I am.
I’ve been using Stretch-Pause on the first high-rep set when the target is freshest.
Latest Release: Get the ideal exercise for each muscle, the best add-on moves for ultimate mass, complete 35-minute workouts, exercise start/finish photos and details on building muscle fast and efficiently in Old Man, Young Muscle.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
Protect Your Family!
Mike Westerdal is a renowned personal trainer and national best-selling physical preparedness author, but he’s also a father and a husband… who would do anything to protect his family.
He used to get pushed around when younger and spent years building up his body and becoming stronger, getting mentally and physically tough the hard way. As he got bigger, he learned to handle himself, and working in security, he learned first-hand how violence really plays out.
Some of the other guys online who show off their self-defense videos and books need to get a grip. The level of skill needed to pull off their basic moves is CRAZY for most ordinary people.
If a defense system requires more than a few hours to master, it’s not a program.
The only techniques you will ever use are the simple ones.
They need to work for an ordinary person without prior training, technique, or ability.
So even if you think you don’t have time to learn how to defend yourself…
You don’t need to spend years training to be a martial artist.