Stretching, especially at longer muscle lengths, can be valuable for promoting muscle growth when used strategically in your training routine. However, more research is needed to determine the optimal duration and intensity of stretching to maximize its potential benefits.
Key Points of Stretch Mediated Hypertrophy Article
A recent study compared calf stretch mediated hypertrophy for an hour to resistance exercise calf training (i.e., 15 sets per week). Muscle growth and strength were similar between the groups. (Warneke et al., 2023)
Calf stretches for an hour result in similar muscle growth as 15 sets of calf raises to failure.
Practical Applications for Stretch Mediated Hypertrophy
To optimize stretch mediated hypertrophy, it is essential to incorporate various types of stretching into your training program. Here are some practical tips for including stretching exercises:
To optimize stretch mediated hypertrophy, consider incorporating stretching into your training routine, focusing on exercises that emphasize long muscle lengths. For example, full squats and deadlifts provide a deep stretch for the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Seated leg curls and lunges can also target the hamstrings at longer muscle lengths.
For the upper body, exercises like preacher curls and incline dumbbell curls can provide a deeper stretch in the biceps. Prioritize exercises that put the muscle in a longer length for a good reason: they can stimulate muscle growth.
To optimize hypertrophy, it is essential to incorporate various types of stretching into your training program. Here are some practical tips for including stretching exercises:
In your training routine, include loaded stretching exercises, such as lying leg curls and dumbbell flyes, to target specific muscles and increase mechanical tension.
Use a partial range of motion exercises, such as calf raises and leg extensions focusing on the initial stage of the lift or the stretch, to target specific muscle groups and promote hypertrophy.
Focus on exercises stretching the targeted muscle at the bottom position, such as biceps curls and pushdowns, to increase muscle activation and growth.
Perform regular stretching exercises for leg muscles, lats, and the long head of the triceps to maintain muscle health and prevent muscle imbalances.
Gradually increase stretching exercises’ duration, intensity, and frequency to continue promoting muscle growth and strength gains.
Stretching, especially at longer muscle lengths, can be valuable for promoting muscle growth when used strategically in your training routine. However, more research is needed to determine the optimal duration and intensity of stretching to maximize its potential benefits. In the meantime, consider incorporating stretching exercises that emphasize long muscle lengths into your routine, as they may lead to better muscle growth and improved overall athletic performance.
Stay updated on the latest research and practical applications by following top experts in the field on social media and tuning in to informative podcasts. Be open to experimenting with different stretching techniques and exercise selections to find what works best for you and your goals. With the right approach, stretching can be a powerful addition to your training toolbox.
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What is the best stretch to hypertrophy?
Research studies suggest that loaded inter-set stretching and long-lasting static stretching can both induce muscle hypertrophy. A meta-analysis of animal studies has also shown that long-lasting stretching can lead to muscle hypertrophy. However, hypertrophy may vary depending on individual factors such as training experience and current fitness level.
Do biceps benefit from stretch-mediated hypertrophy?
Research studies demonstrate that stretch-mediated hypertrophy can lead to muscular adaptations. However, the extent of hypertrophy achieved varies based on the specific muscle group targeted and individual factors.
Muscle hypertrophy refers to an increase in muscle size, which can lead to enhanced strength and performance. Lengthening exercises have been widely used to improve flexibility and athletic performance; however, recent studies have found that stretching can also increase muscle hypertrophy independent of exercise. A recent systematic review of the research has found that stretch mediated hypertrophy occurs in animals. (Warneke, Freund, et al., 2022)
A flood of recent studies has found similar results in humans when a muscle is placed on stretch, stretch mediated hypertrophy occurs. A recent study compared the effects of long-lasting static stretching vs. resistance exercise on stretch mediated hypertrophy and maximal strength, muscle thickness, and flexibility in the calves. In this article, we will discuss the key findings of this study, shedding light on how these two approaches affect increases in size and strength.
What is Stretch Mediated Hypertrophy?
Stretch mediated hypertrophy is a process by which muscle fibers are stimulated to grow in response to being stretched. This type of hypertrophy is triggered when sarcomeres, the basic contractile units of muscle fibers, are stretched beyond their usual range, promoting growth and adaptation. Stretch mediated hypertrophy can be induced by various types of lengthening exercises, such as static, loaded, and passive tension stretching.
One of the earliest notable studies on stretch mediated hypertrophy was conducted by (Goldspink, 1964) in 1964. In this study, Goldspink examined the effects of stretch on muscle fiber growth in mice. The study found that stretch mediated hypertrophy was induced when the muscles were subjected to passive stretch. The key factor in stretch mediated hypertrophy is the application of mechanical tension to the fibers, leading to an increase in size and strength. (Nunes et al., 2020) Mechanical tension is the crucial factor that stimulates protein synthesis, leading to muscle hypertrophy. Stretch mediated hypertrophy is one way to generate mechanical tension in muscles, and it has been found to induce muscle hypertrophy in animals and humans.