Does Stretching Help or Hurt You Gain Muscle?
For many years it has been thought that stretching your muscles before a workout routine should be done in order prevent you from suffering any injuries. The thought is that it will assist you in warming up and loosening up the muscle groups you’re about to train that day.
However, there’s been very little evidence that let’s us know hands down that stretching does in fact prevent injuries.
As a matter of fact, stretching has nothing to do with actually “warming up” a muscle. Keep in mind that in order to raise the temperature inside of a muscle it has to have some resistance applied to it in addition to sending extra blood flowing to it.
Stretching doesn’t do this.
In fact, many are finally starting to realize that stretching before your workout program is actually counterproductive!
There have been several recent studies that have demonstrated this:
*Several studies showed that up to a 28% loss of strength occurs when stretching before weight training. This is due to the decrease in muscular tension.
Also, stretching lowers the number of motor units that are worked in that particular muscle part.
Stretching before a workout = A temporarily weaker muscle
However, stretching isn’t all bad either.
If you noticed so far in this article, I keep mentioning the negative effects of stretching BEFORE working out that muscle, especially if you’re trying to gain muscle mass naturally.
However, there are big advantages to stretching AFTER you’ve finished the last set for that day of that muscle.
Stretching raises a hormone within the worked muscle called IGF-1, which many feel is a big factor in raising of one’s growth hormone levels.
Stretching is also one of the main factors in raising mechano-growth factor, which is a very important muscle gaining hormone in and of itself.
So, the bottom line is DON’T stretch a muscle BEFORE training it. Instead, to properly warm up that body part, simply do 1 or 2 sets for double-digit reps, with an amount of weight that isn’t challenging or fatiguing (remember, we’re just warming the muscle up, not stimulating muscle gain with these warm up sets).
However, DO stretch AFTER you’ve completed the last set for that day of that particular muscle.