STRETCH YOUR LIM­ITS FOR HEROIC GAINS

Men's Health (Australia) - - Useful Stuff -

The fit­ness elite has long viewed the static stretch as a shade anachro­nis­tic, trad­ing it in for dy­namic moves with ridicu­lous names such as ‘the scor­pion’ and ‘the inch­worm’. Fools! New US re­search shows that if you make time to hold a stretch at the end of your work­out in­stead of beel­in­ing for the exit, you can in­crease your mus­cle mass by as much as 13 per cent.

Tim­ing, how­ever, is ev­ery­thing. Static stretch­ing isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a force for fit­ness in every in­stance. In fact, per­formed pre­work­out, calf and quad stretches can ac­tu­ally ham­per your train­ing. Ac­cord­ing to one meta-anal­y­sis, static stretch­ing re­duces your power out­put in the sub­se­quent ses­sion by 5.5 per cent. Wait un­til your cool down, how­ever, and you can im­prove your strength by a bulky 237 per cent over the course of eight weeks. That’s some stretch, you’ll agree. Re­search pub­lished in the Jour­nal

of Ap­plied Phys­i­ol­ogy shows that stretch­ing can have much the same ef­fect on your mus­cles as re­sis­tance train­ing does. Both cause mi­cro tears in your mus­cle tis­sue – known as Z-line rup­tures – that stim­u­late your mus­cle cells to pro­duce growth fac­tors. It is th­ese growth fac­tors that prompt the man­u­fac­ture of new mus­cle fi­bres and, in turn, the ad­di­tion of ex­tra weight plates to your bar­bell.

And a post-work­out loosener needn’t take hours: just 10 min­utes after your fi­nal dead­lift will be enough to make you feel the ben­e­fits. Per­form five sets of stretches that tar­get your ham­strings, quads and calves, hold­ing each pose for 30 sec­onds, and you’ll en­joy a far more re­lax­ing route to gain­ing ex­tra mus­cle. It’s the sim­plest way for you to stretch your po­ten­tial.

This mus­cle hack is faster than a speed­ing bul­let.

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