Whether we admit it or not, we all have stubborn muscles that refuse to grow no matter how much time we spend yelling at them. And it sucks.
One of the single most powerful techniques you can do for improving stubborn muscle groups is something called “loaded stretching.”
Yes, I said stretching. Unfortunately, it’s often ignored and brushed off as something that’s just not worth it, and I get it. You don’t necessarily feel anything happening, so is it really doing anything?
While stretching, for a lot of people, is about as much fun as visiting a drunk dentist in a third world country, the answer to that question, my friend, is yes.
Yes, it does do something.
Done properly, stretching can dramatically speed up muscle growth, strength, and recovery. It’s the overlooked secret of many of the world’s fittest people, including the King himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Problem With Traditional Stretching
The main problem with conventional stretching programs is that they often work against your body’s physiology rather than with it.
If you take a tight, cold muscle and expose it to prolonged, “standard” stretching, you could incur scar tissue and micro-tearing, which could then lead to muscle weakness, inflexibility, and injury.
Furthermore, many professionals prescribe stretching before exercise as a form of warm up; this is wrong.
A study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research concluded that if you stretch before you lift weights, you could find yourself weaker and “off balanced” in your workouts 1. Not something we want when hoisting hundreds of pounds of metal.
Weak & Flexible Or Strong & Rigid?
99% of the population falls into one of those two categories and sadly, both scenarios suck. What’s the point of looking like a Greek god if you can’t even bend over to tie your own shoe?
The typical recommendations for increasing flexibility have been to increase your range of motion in a static stretching position using only your bodyweight. This results in the first scenario: weak and flexible.
But, when you add a load into the equation via anabolic stretching work, the entire scenario changes.
In a protective response to this unstable change, the stretched muscle sheets trigger an increase in muscle cell division, collagen breakdown, repair and protein splitting.
The result is hypertrophy for survival, and that’s where anabolic stretching comes in.
This is not the nice kind of stretching you are thinking of. This is going to hurt.
Put simply, take a moderate weight, lower it into the maximum stretched position of a stretch-focused exercise, and hold it there.
This is exactly the kind of thing that Arnold used to do in his workouts to build his incredible chest. He would hold the bottom position of a fly for 45-60 seconds (at the end of a chest workout when his pecs were pumped full of blood).
The key thing is that you’re not really “stretching” like in the way you do with most static stretching…you’re resisting the load in the stretched position.
There is a big difference. And you will feel this difference the first time you try it.
What The Science Says
In the early 1990s, a study was done on birds that had nothing short of amazing results. In this study, Dr. Jose Antonio attached a weight to the wing of young quail, and over the course of a month, he progressively increased the weight.
After a month, the level of muscle hypertrophy (growth) was measured. The bird’s wing where the weight was attached had grown by over 300 percent (318 percent to be exact).
After studying the results more closely, Dr. Antonio discovered evidence of hyperplasia. A controversial topic in the strength and conditioning field, hyperplasia is muscle growth from an increase in the size of fibers (hypertrophy), not through the increase in number.
For a while, this was all theory since birds and humans (for the most part) are kinda, sorta different.
That ended when Dr. Jacob Wilson and his team recently put the theory to the test in the lab, investigating the effects of anabolic stretching on skeletal muscle size and strength in human subjects. Twenty-four recreationally trained subjects were randomly assigned to stretching and non-stretching conditions. The result?
Muscle effectively DOUBLED in the group that used anabolic stretching.2
In short, the study suggested aggressively stretching a fully-pumped muscle is the perfect mechanism for growth. You maximize the cell swelling response for maximal muscle damage, while also increasing overall muscular tension.
How to Build Bulging Biceps With Anabolic Stretching
- Get into the incline curl position
- Pick a weight you can do 12-15 curls with
- Perform incline bicep curls until complete failure
- Instead of dropping the weight after, let the weight stretch your biceps out for 30 seconds
- Try not to cry while you engage in badass mental warfare
- Release the weights
- Rest 1-2 minutes and repeat the entire process 2 more times
Your Next Steps
This stretch, while pretty basic, is good enough to turn your arms into dangerous, sleeve-splitting18-inchh pythons.
To integrate this into your current training, simply perform this anabolic stretch at the end of any workout, and you’ll be on your way to bigger, stronger, and damn good looking muscles.
Now, the above stretch will definitely get the job done, it’s pretty basic. Good in a pinch, but definitely not high-level, by any means, which is why I created the Anabolic Stretching System.
Anabolic Stretching is only for people who want a simple shortcut to more muscle, better recovery, and a killer body.
Even just 5-10 minutes done at the end of your regular workout will get you results. The best part is that you can put it to work without changing your whole training program around…just add it to the end of your current workouts.
Now it’s your turn. Click here to access The Anabolic Stretching system.
- Gergley, J. C. (2013, April). Acute effect of passive static stretching on lower-body strength in moderately trained men. Retrieved March 31, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22692125 ↩
- Silva, J.E., Rauch, J., Lowery, R.P.,…..and Wilson, J.M. (2014) Weighted Post-Set Stretching Increases Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy. National Strength and Conditioning Conference, Las Vegas Nevada. ↩
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