Dr. Jacob Wilson, who used to write for Iron Man when we worked there, just did a study with a technique we have recommended over the years that can double your muscle growth–stretch holds, or Stat-X. (In one of our first e-books, X-Rep Update #1: New Tactics to Unleash Ultimate Muscle Mass, Chapter 4 outlined “Stretch Position Stretch Pulses.”)
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.
He says, “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. We list these exercises in our latest e-book, The MMX Mega-Mass Workout, and provide a program including those moves, the POF MMX Workout. (In the routine the stretch exercises are designated with an “S” before each.)
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.
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 workouts–especially for slacker muscles.
And if you’re using a POF routine, try the Static-X hold at the end of most of your sets on that exercise. If you can’t make 30 seconds, just hold for as long as you can in the stretch position. You should notice a major growth spurt.
Hey, it hurts but it works. (Thanks to Dr. Wilson for proving that with his study.)
Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.