How Stretching Can Explode Your Muscle Growth
When you think about gaining muscle, stretching is probably not the first thing that pops into your head. But did you know that stretching plays a critical role in building muscle?
Every muscle in your body is enclosed in a bag of tough connective tissue known as fascia. Fascia is important for holding your muscles in their proper place in your body.
But your fascia may also be holding back your muscle growth. Think for a moment about your muscles. You train them and feed them properly. They want to grow and will grow but something is holding them back. They have no room to grow!
Because fascia is so tough, it doesn't allow the muscle room to expand. It is like stuffing a large pillow into a small pillowcase. The size of the muscle won't change regardless of how hard you train or how well you eat because the connective tissue around your muscles is constricting the muscles within.
The best example of this is the calf muscle. The lower leg is riddled with fascia because of its tremendous weight-bearing duties in the body. It is because of this fascia that many trainers have great difficulty developing their calves.
The solution: stretching.
Using the pillowcase example from above, imagine you can expand the size of the pillowcase by stretching it. Suddenly, the pillow within has more room and will expand to fill that new space.
By stretching your muscles under specific conditions, you can actually stretch your fascia and give your muscles more room to grow.
The key to effective fascial stretching is the pump. The best time to stretch to expand the bags that are holding in your muscles is when your muscles are pumped up full of blood.
When your muscles are fully pumped up, they are pressing against the fascia. By stretching hard at that time, you increase that pressure on the fascia greatly, which can lead to expansion of the fascia.
One of the major reasons Arnold Schwarzenegger had such incredible chest development was that he finished his chest workouts with dumbell flyes, an exercise that emphasizes the stretched position of the pectoral muscles. He would pump his chest up full of blood during the workout then do flyes, holding the stretch at the bottom of the flye. This gave his chest room to grow to amazing proportions.
Fascial stretching is more rigorous than regular stretching but the results can be amazing. When you stretch hard enough to cause the fascia to expand, you will really feel it! When you are stretching the fascia, you should feel a powerful pulling sensation and pressure as the muscle works against the fascia to expand it.
Be sure you do not stretch so hard that you cause the muscle to tear or cause injury to yourself. You will rapidly learn to distinguish the difference between a good stretch and a bad stretch. You should not feel any sharp pain, just a steady pull.
Hold each stretch for at least 20 to 30 seconds as you must give your fascia time to be affected by the stretch. Stretch hard like this only when you have a fully pumped muscle as you must give your fascia a reason to expand. If your muscles aren't pumped, just stretch normally.
You can find instructions for stretching at: http://www.fitstep.com/Library/Info/Stretching1.htm
One set of hard stretching after each set you do for a muscle group, besides the obvious benefits of increased flexibility, can have an incredible effect on the size of your muscles and their further ability to grow.
About The Author
Nick Nilsson is Vice President of BetterU, Inc., an online exercise, fitness, and personal training company. Check out his latest eBook "The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of" at http://www.thebestexercises.com or visit http://www.fitstep.com. You can contact him at email@example.com or subscribe to BetterU News, his fitness newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Body Building Mind Games: Dont Let Your Weight Determine Your Mood!
Is the 'I Feel Fat Day' (IFFD) syndrome affecting your output? That extra flab can overpower you and your work. Thee feeling of being fat can morph into an emotion like 'happy' or 'angry'.
"Bodybuilding Sins" That Cause Back Pain and Missed Workouts
It's one thing for someone who sits at a computer all day and never exercises to have back pain, but for a bodybuilder, someone who spends hours and hours each week pouring everything they've got into building muscle, it should be criminal!The reason we say this is because, if you are going to spend so much time, money, and energy trying to build the "perfect body", you have to make sure that you not only look good, but also feel good?We've identified what we call "Bodybuilding Sins" that lead to back pain, sciatic pain, and other injuries? read em and take action now if you are serious about bodybuilding and are fed up with your back pain.Because there is so much information to share with you, we've broken it down into a series of 5 articles, each covering a different component of how back pain affects bodybuilders.
Is Your Muscle Building Potential Limited By Your Genes?
It is clear that certain traits are handed down to us by our parents and unfortunately our ablility to grow muscles beyond certain limits is no exception. That doesn't mean to say hard work and carefully planned training won't have a positive effect on your physique - it just means that some people will inherit a greater abundance of the favored physical characteristics than others.
The How To Guide for Six Pack Abs
First off I want to mention that, for most people, getting six pack abs is not an easy task. It requires serious dedication, but it is possible! If were blessed with naturally low body fat and good muscle definition, enjoy it! Otherwise, below is a general 2-step guide that, if followed religiously for 3 months, will produce results.
Why my Lactate Threshold Training is better than any other Strength Training System
It's a very simple training system. Consisting of using your body in space with simple counts.
Exercise The Right Way - The Hammer Curl
Other articles in this series looked at a number of exercises, mainly from the perspective of developing a comprehensive muscle building program. Sometimes we take things for granted, especially when it comes to performing the basic exercises that constitute the core of most bodybuiders' training regimes.
Bodybuilding Sins That Cause Back Pain and Missed Workouts: Part 2
Welcome to article number 2 in our series "Bodybuilding Sins That Cause Back Pain and Missed Workouts". In this article we are going to talk about how bodybuilders tend to create massive muscle imbalances and what you can do to not be one of them.
Use This Quick Muscle Building Program for Fast Results
Quick muscle building is the goal of every underweight guy who hits the gym and embarks on a weight training program for the first time. After all, who wants to wait years for the results?There are weight training routines designed specifically for muscle building that will have you gaining pounds of muscle mass in a short period of time.
The Importance Of Creatine In Building Lean Muscle
Creatine monohydrate can rightly lay claim to being the most popular and arguably most effective bodybuilding supplement currently available. The beauty of creatine is that it is 100% natural and occurs in many foods so it's unlikely to be banned from any sports or competitions.
The Amazing Benefits of Resistance Training
When it comes to exercise, resistance training is often overlooked. Resistance training is an essential part of any fitness program and has many amazing benefits.
They make up the biggest trio in bodybuilding.No, not Arnold, Franco, and Lou.
Ab Sculpting Exercise - One Of The Most Productive Exercises For Your Abs That Is Hardly Ever Used
Before I talk about one of the most productive and forgotten Ab Development exercises ever developed, you will need to know how your abdominal muscles actually work. I know for a fact, if I don't offer some pretty convincing evidence, it will be very difficult for you to believe such a claim so here is where a little education will go a long way to prove my point.
NO2 Muscle Enhancing Hemodialator
Whenever I go to the gym and tell a friend that I've recently started the supplement, NO2, nobody knows what I'm talking about but I even mention Creatine, and that is well known as a standard for building muscle.Could NO2 be the next Creatine? When Creatine was launched, it was expensive.