Category Archives: Muscle Mass

Stretching for Strength and Muscle Mass

Practical advice on getting the most out of this effective training method

by Charles Poliquin
2/24/2012 4:08:34 PM

You can use the timing and the nature of stretching to maximize gains in strength and flexibility.

The timing of stretching is critical to maximize the training response, meaning that a great method of stretching used at the wrong time can be disastrous. The regular practice of stretching will accelerate maximal gains in strength and hypertrophy. However, restrictions in fascial structures slow down hypertrophy gains and make it difficult to improve flexibility. Hence, the popularity of our FAT tool courses to remove limiting adhesions – especially when combined with a NO2 increasing cream such as Zanagen Ignite.

If you stretch with the wrong method, such as doing static stretching before strength training, you make the muscle temporarily weak and increase the risk of injury. This has been proven in multiple studies of various stretching activities, ranging from strength training to warming up for rugby and football. In most studies the decreases in maximal strength and power range from 7 to 20 percent. Who wants to train or compete at 80 to 93 percent of their best?

PNF stretching and ballistic stretching increase strength levels for workouts and competition. The key is to perform until you feel your nervous system being activated. Using bands to stretch the joint capsules also potentiates strength and flexibility gains.

To maximize your flexibility gains, four to six hours after strength training do a combination of stretching methods in this order: PNF, then ballistic, then static; following this protocol will accelerate your progress in the weightroom and on the athletic field. With PNF stretching make sure to gradually increase the tension to about 66 percent of maximal strength for 6-8 seconds for the highest return on your time investment.

When using the ballistic method, use the pendulum approach, by gradually increasing both range and velocity of the stretch. Although many physical therapists frown upon this method and argue that it increases the risk of injury, this is no more than the talk of glorified bartenders with their bags of ice. Successful kicks and throws are ballistic, so you can and should train the same way you compete! It’s all about the progressions. Weightlifters lift world records after progressive warm-ups. They get there by lifting heavy weights in a progressive manner. Why not apply the same principles to stretching?

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