Can You Really Gain Muscle from Stretching? How Recovery Can Increase Strength and Size.

By Samuel George |
January 20, 2021 |
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Stretching is critical for massive rapid muscle growth.

When you think about gaining muscle or increasing performance, 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? Stretching is critical for massive rapid muscle growth.

What is the fascia?

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!

Stretching for muscle growth

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.

By stretching your muscles under specific conditions, you can actually stretch your fascia and give your muscles more room to grow. Stretching is critical for massive rapid muscle growth.

Stretching Human Muscles Makes Them Stronger

Research on residual force enhancement and muscle stretching and contraction observed under physiological conditions.

By Dilson E. Rassier – Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, McGill University | First Published in the Journal of Applied Physiology 102: 5-6, 2007

Outline of the Study

This review article explores changes in muscle fiber, specifically examining a phenomenon known as residual force enhancement. The primary focus is on a study conducted by Pinniger and Cresswell, which sought to explore the relationship between laboratory research on residual force enhancement and muscle stretching and contraction observed under physiological conditions.

The object of study for the authors is the large leg muscles of healthy subjects. Specifically, joint torque around the ankle, indicative of muscular force, was measured. The results were compared with residual force enhancement generated via electrical stimulation during plantar flexion. Residual force enhancement was shown in physiological conditions to be a fundamental characteristic of contracting skeletal muscle. While residual force enhancement following electrical stimulation appears to produce similar results to those obtained in isolated preparations, the relation of this effect to that produced by voluntary activation requires further study.

Summary of Results

Measurements of residual force enhancement were made with the large leg muscles of healthy individuals. Force enhancements of 7% and 12% were observed for plantar flexion and dorsiflexion, respectively. Residual force enhancement produced by electrical stimulation was comparable, increasing by 13%. The mechanism of residual force enhancement, the authors believe, involves an increased stiffness in titin molecules, rather than the formation of cross-bridges or unstable sarcomeres, as often proposed elsewhere.

A Few Precautions

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. This is best done by a professional if you are not educated in the matter. Professionally assisted stretching and myo-fascial release is the best way that you can see the results in muscle growth and performance. 

Again stretching to the degree where you are actually impacting the fascia tissue can be dangerous if you are not trained in the professional application of these techniques. The benefits are extraordinary, however the consequences of doing it improperly by yourself could result in injury.

If you are interested in learning more on this topic, or contacting a professional for your FREE session CLICK HERE.

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Samuel George

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