Stretching for Muscle Growth
Stretching for muscle growth is one of the weight training secrets that top bodybuilders like Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman use to maximize their muscle size.
Many of you may be wondering what stretching has to do with weight training. I mean, what does stretching have to do with growing huge muscles that are ripped and vascular? The answer is EVERYTHING!
That’s right, stretching can help you build bigger muscles that are strong and well shaped. When you finish a set of a weight lifting exercise, your muscles will be filled with blood. That same blood is what transports nutrients to those muscles to provide them the necessary building blocks for growth. What if there was a way to get more blood, and therefore more nutrients, into that muscle? That’s what stretching for muscle growth can do.
I am not talking about your warm-up, or about stretching for hours until you can do the full-splits. Those things are not necessarily bad, but what I am talking about is stretching for muscle growth. To do that, you need to stretch the muscles you are training, between sets like Ronnie Coleman does. When you take a muscle after completing a set of your weight lifting workout, and that muscle is filling with blood, you can increase the flow and circulation of blood by stretching the muscle. Another very important thing that this kind of stretching does is to stretch the fascia around the muscle, making it easier for that muscle to grow larger.
If you have ever tried blowing up a hot water bottle, you know that it is very difficult because of the thickness and strength of the material. But if that hot water bottle has been blown up several times and is stretched out, it will be much easier. Imagine the fascia around your muscles as a hot water bottle. That strong, thick material is constricting your muscles and holding back their growth. If you can find a way to stretch it out, think how much easier it would be for your muscles to grow to their full potential. When your muscles are pumped up, the fascia is already stretched. If we then take that opportunity to stretch it even further, we can enhance the growth potential of the muscle, and that is the goal.
Stretching for muscle growth will work well with these tips.
I will use the chest as an example of how to perform these stretches. After you do a set of Bench Presses, you will do a light stretch. If you have a training partner, He or She can stand behind you, take hold of your wrists, and pull them back and up behind you until the chest, shoulder and biceps muscles stretch. You can have them bring your wrists closer together to further enhance the stretch if you wish.
If you are training alone, you can use a wall or other stationary object to achieve the same effect. Place your hand on the wall and turn away from it, making sure to get a good stretch of the chest, shoulders and biceps. Then switch and do the other side. The important thing to remember is that you want to start with an easy stretch, and then go a little farther, and a little harder each set. When your muscles are fully pumped is the time to go for a hard stretch and maximize the stretch of the fascia. Remember, however, do not push so hard that you overstretch and injure yourself. You have to use some common sense and stretch the muscle, not tear it.
If you incorporate stretching for muscle growth into your workouts between sets, I know you will experience new and substantial growth.
This page is one of the "50 Tips for Bodybuilding Success" in my book. If you would like to read the rest of it, click here.