Stretching can be a great way to increase flexibility and we’ve previously looked at extreme stretching being a potential tool for muscle growth. But what about less intense, long-term stretching? Could it be a nice addition to your muscle growth toolkit or are you better off sticking to just lifting weights?
What did they test? The researchers looked at the effects of 7 weeks of chest-stretching training and its effect on flexibility, muscle stiffness and strength.
What did they find? Frequent stretching of the chest muscle increased flexibility and strength at long muscle lengths.
What does it mean for you? Given the literature on inter-set stretching being an potentially valuable tool for hypertrophy increases, incorporating some targeted stretching as part of your resistance training routine may have some hypertrophy benefits to offer although more research is needed.
What’s the Problem?
“We’ve covered stretching in detail in previous REPS issues. From whether stretching can be a recovery tool to stretching versus lifting for flexibility, REPS has done its stretching research due diligence. Stretching appears to be fine for flexibility and won’t impact your gains as much as some people have made it out to, but it’s not an injury prevention tool or some magical recovery modality that you must include in your training protocol.
Check out our previous REPS articles for a proper deep dive into stretching.
The above is a quote from a previous article of REPS that looked at intense stretching and muscle growth.
Really intense stretching of the calves has been found to be able to increase muscle size in a way that is comparable to traditional resistance training 1. However, if you remember, when we looked at intense static stretching and the calves 2, the amount of intense stretching required to see muscle growth was really not worth the time and pain trade-off, especially when a few sets of good-ol’ lifting were as good and much more time efficient.