Jeremy Ethier explains how you may be able to maximise your hypertrophy with stretch focused training.
Stretch Focused Training
“You might be able to gain muscle faster (almost twice as fast!) as you are right now – and still remain ‘natty’. How? With what I like to call “stretch-focused training”. A training technique that has seemed to crack the code to what it takes to build muscle fast naturally. I’ve even started experimenting with it, and honestly, it seems like it’s working. Don’t just take my word for it, though. I’ve assembled my elite crew of researchers to dive into the science, separate the truth from the fad, and figure out the best way to use this training to build muscle faster. If you want to learn how to maximise your gains, keep reading.”
What is the Concept Behind Stretch Focused Training?
“Before moving into the practical of how to build muscle faster, let’s explain the concept behind ‘stretch-focused training’. Whenever you lift weights, your muscles contract to lift the weight up and then stretch in order to lower the weight back down. The muscles can sense the stretch in the contractile units and, in response, kickstart a complex process that tells the body to build more muscle. This is what researchers now term ‘stretch-mediated hypertrophy’.”
“But is there evidence that it can help you gain muscle fast? Yes, and here are 4 studies I want to look at. First study: participants who performed only bottom half of the curl experienced 2.6x more biceps growth than those who only performed the top half of the curl. Second study: the group who only performed the bottom half of the leg extension saw better growth than those who did the top or the full range of motion! Further proof of the stretch-mediated hypertrophy (third study): participants who did the overhead cable extensions experienced about 1.5x more growth than those who did cable pushdowns. Fourth study: those who did seated hamstring curls saw better growth than those who did lying hamstring curls.”
“How do you go about applying all this to potentially build muscle faster? I have 3 training tips for you. The first tip applies to all your exercises. We know how important the bottom position of an exercise seems to be for growth, so don’t cut it short. Also, make sure you’re actually controlling the weight down to the bottom position, and then when you get there, don’t cheat or bounce out of it using momentum.”
“The next tip when it comes to how to maximize your gains has to do with your exercise selection. Note: you don’t need a bunch of special exercises that will provide more ‘stretch-mediated hypertrophy’. You’re already doing them. The tried and true exercises like bench press, curls, and squats all put your muscles in a deep stretch position given that you perform them with a full range of motion. However, there are some muscles that can potentially benefit from being stretched to a greater degree. These are what’s known as “bi-articulate” muscles. So for these muscles, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing an exercise that puts them into that position of “extra stretch”. But until more muscle groups and exercises come up in future research, here’s the 4 muscles and exercises I’d be comfortable recommending you incorporate.”
Hamstrings and Triceps
“The first two are the hamstrings and triceps. Using exercises like seated leg curls and any sort of triceps overhead extensions can provide a greater stretch and help you build muscle fast naturally. The biceps are another muscle I’d add to this list. One of its heads, the long head, can be positioned into an even greater stretch by performing a slight incline curl or a behind the body cable curl. Although there isn’t direct evidence on this yet, it does seem likely to provide a benefit. Lastly, the glutes. While there’s no direct evidence yet, Romanian deadlifts, squats, and split squats will likely be your best bet since they challenge your glutes in that all important stretched position.”
“Last but not least, we have more of an advanced tactic that I like to call “lengthened partials”. Before I share the technique though, just realize you don’t want to use this on big exercises like squats, deadlifts, and overhead press and you also don’t want to do this very often since it can be quite fatiguing. But every now and then, such as during your very last set for a “safe” exercise such as a dumbbell press, flyes, leg extensions, triceps extension, and biceps curl, try this out. After you reach the point where you can’t do anymore full range of motion reps, continue your set by performing half reps at the bottom position to stress your muscle in that stretched position until you reach failure.”
Video – Stretch Focused Training
Important Muscle Building Exercises
Add these into your training.
Stretch Focused Training – Bench Press
The Bench Press is a compound exercise that primarily works the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It also works your legs to stabilize your body.
Begin by lying on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grip the barbell with an overhand grip (palms facing away from you) slightly wider than shoulder width apart, then lower it to your chest while keeping good posture. Once the weight has touched your chest, push it back up until arms are fully extended at the top of each rep.
Stretch Focused Training – Barbell Back Squat
The squat is a compound exercise, meaning it works many muscles at once. The squat primarily works your quadriceps and glutes, but also your hamstrings, calves, lower back and abs. Squatting is a great exercise to build muscle mass and strength in the lower body while also improving overall flexibility. You can perform squats with a barbell or dumbbells; both options offer different benefits depending on your workout goals.
Stretch Focused Training – Deadlift
The deadlift is a compound movement that uses your entire body. It helps build strength in your lower back, hamstrings, glutes and calves. You can perform this exercise by using a barbell or dumbbells.
Deadlifts are an excellent exercise for building muscle in your back and hamstrings as well as developing explosive power in the lower body.
Stretch Focused Training – Overhead Press
- Use a barbell or dumbbells to complete this exercise.
- Start with weights that you can lift comfortably and build up over time, as your muscles become stronger.
- Keep your body straight and your back flat when performing this exercise, which helps support the weight being pushed upwards.
- Push the weight up above your head until it reaches full extension in front of you, then lower it back down to your shoulders as slowly as possible without losing control of the movement. Repeat this motion for several repetitions before resting for 1 minute or more between sets if needed.*
These lifts will make you huge.
These lifts will make you huge:
- Squatting – this exercise is the king of all exercises. It will help you build muscle, lose fat and get strong. There are many variations to choose from as well including front squats, back squats and hack squats. All of which provide benefits but they also have different effects on your body so take some time and research them before starting this workout routine if you want it to be effective.
- Deadlifts – another great exercise for building muscle mass because it works nearly every major muscle in your lower body at once making it an excellent choice for those looking to develop their strength too! This can be done with dumbbells or barbells depending on what type of equipment is available at home or at the gym where someone else may be using them already (so make sure there’s enough space).
Conclusion – Stretch Focused Training
These lifts are some of the best for building muscle and strength. They will help you get big, lean, and strong. If you want to build muscle then these are the lifts that you should be doing on a regular basis.
Try stretch focused training and find out if it is right for you.