Weighted stretching is something that many people know nothing about but definitely should.
People have been stretching before workouts, before practices, before games, and before other activities for many, many years.
At first glance, weighted stretching may sound dangerous.
If you're careful about this and start out light and slowly increase over the weeks, weighted stretching is very safe.
I've never had a single injury from weighted stretching and have only improved my recovery between workouts. I truly believe that I've built greater amounts of muscle as a result of this loaded stretching strategy I've used for many years now.
I also frequently visit message boards with weighted stretching users and have never heard anyone dislike weighted stretching for any reason, including injury.
Some of the best bodybuilders and elite trainers now use weighted stretching. I'm sure some used the strategy as their “secret” weapon for many years without others knowing.
Bodybuilders and elite trainers use this because it works wonders for improving recovery and building greater amounts of muscle. It really helps your flexibility too and leads to higher levels of mobility throughout your life.
You could call it one of the best kept secrets for building muscle fast and staying mobile while lifting heavy weights.
Do It Correctly and Reap the Benefits of Weighted Stretching
In reality, weighted stretching performed correctly is much, much safer than static stretching that people do before any activity (doing the stretches while you are cold).
You will never do static stretches before weight lifting workouts or before any workout. Static stretching is always done after a muscle is warm.
I would never recommend something that doesn't work. I'm not here to waste your time. I'm here to give you methods that help you get a better body much faster.
I want you to give weighted stretching a serious try for several months. I want you to work hard at it and attempt to get better each and every time you stretch.
Only after those few months you will realize the great potential of weighted stretching for building muscle. You will see a huge difference.
How Does Weighted Stretching Work?
What's the reasoning behind weighted stretching? How does it help build more muscle?
Has it been proven to build more muscle scientifically? These may be a few of the questions you have in your head regarding weighted stretching.
Let's answer them…
There have been several studies performed on the musculature of chicken wings (several since 1973). Several chicken wings were weighted and stretched for many days and even weeks at a time.
Usually, one chicken wing is stretched under a load 10% body weight of the bird while the other wing is not touched.
All the interest in the muscle building community has stemmed from the results of chicken wing studies.
The results of the weighted stretching in chicken wing musculature have been spectacular. Some studies have shown a 334% increase in muscle mass and a 90% increase in muscle fiber number.
No one has yet to prove (scientifically) that weighted stretching produces similar results in humans.
But that doesn't mean we can't experiment with weighted stretching ourselves. With possible results like that, we've got to give our best shot.
I doubt you'll find anyone that wants to attach a weight to their body for weeks at a time. But I've come up with an alternative that you'll learn about in a few minutes…
Increase in the Number of Fibers
Did you see the results above that proved the chicken wing muscle fibers were increased by up to 90% in the studies?
Well, this is a very significant result because many scientists do not believe the human body can produce new muscle fiber.
Many scientists argue that we can only increase muscle fiber size and can never create NEW muscle fiber.
- Muscle Hypertrophy = increase in muscle fiber size
- Muscle Hyperplasia = increase in muscle fiber number
So, we've proven that muscle hyperplasia occurs in chicken wings, but we've never proven that muscle hyperplasia occurs in humans.
I seriously believe that muscle hyperplasia can occur in humans, but I have no scientific evidence to support that statement.
But, we're going to try to do everything we can with all that we know to induce muscle hyperplasia. It's worth a shot and will only help your efforts anyway.
We know that weighted stretching in birds can induce hyperplasia, so we're going to do everything to mimic that experiment. But, we don't have several weeks to attach weights to our bodies.
So, here's what we're going to do…
Here's the Weighted Stretching Strategy…
You're only going to perform weighted stretching after sets that produce the greatest pump in the given muscle group.
If you're a complete beginner, you'll soon find out what the pumped up feeling is like.
You usually don't produce much of a pump with low rep sets, but multiple low rep sets can give you a pump. You can still use weighted stretching without a pump, but it works even better with one.
Why do you need a pump before weighted stretching?
Well, you want the muscle to be at its largest size and filled with blood in the target area. When the muscle is filled with blood, the size is increased and the weighted stretch will force the fascia surrounding the muscle to an even greater size.
If the fascia is stretched to a greater size, you have more room to grow.
Even if you don't have a full pump in the muscle, there's still going to be plenty of blood in the muscle to give you a great stretch in the muscle fascia.
What Do You Think?
It's your choice on whether or not to utilize weighted stretching, but I highly recommend that you experiment with it for at least one cycle.
You will improve recovery, and you will build a greater amount of muscle with weighted stretching.
Will you induce hyperplasia?
Who knows, but you will get better results. As long as the results are there, who cares if it's due to hypertrophy or hyperplasia? We'll let the scientists work on that…
The rest and recovery section of the website has example weighted stretches for each major muscle group excluding abs and traps. You can experiment with your own stretches for those muscle groups.
I don't do specific ab or trap exercises (most of the time) because they get stimulated very well through other compound exercises.
Feel free to experiment with weighted stretching positions. Remember to use your common sense and don't injure yourself. Start out with light weights or light force and increase over the course of a program cycle.
Loaded Stretching Should Be Done Progressively
Weighted stretching should be done progressively over a program cycle just as you do with weight lifting.
For example, if you hang weights from your body in the bottom position of a chin up, you would start with only your body weight and increase by a few pounds each time.
You can progress in time / duration OR weight / force. Start with 20 to 30 seconds and increase in time if you'd like. I use this method often before I increase the resistance.
Here's a few examples of some progression you can use with your new weighted stretching strategy:
Week 1: 20 seconds each stretch
Week 2: 25 seconds each stretch
Week 3: 30 seconds each stretch
Week 4: 35 seconds each stretch
Week 5: 40 seconds each stretch
Week 6: 45 seconds each stretch
Week 7: 50 seconds each stretch
Week 8: 55 seconds each stretch
Week 9: 60 seconds each stretch
Week 10: 65 seconds each stretch
Week 11: 70 seconds each stretch
Week 12: 75 seconds each stretch
Or you can use a weight progression and time progression. You can add more resistance through your body to the stretches that don't use actual weights. As long as you are making progress in some way, you are doing great. See the example below.
Week 1: 20 pounds for 30 seconds
Week 2: 20 pounds for 35 seconds
Week 3: 20 pounds for 40 seconds
Week 4: 25 pounds for 40 seconds
Week 5: 30 pounds for 40 seconds
Week 6: 35 pounds for 35 seconds
Week 7: 35 pounds for 45 seconds
Week 8: 40 pounds for 40 seconds
Week 9: 45 pounds for 40 seconds
Week 10: 50 pounds for 45 seconds
Week 11: 50 pounds for 50 seconds
Week 12: 55 pounds for 50 seconds
That's it! Use any progression scheme you like.
Just ensure you are getting better each time you stretch.
Perform weighted stretching on a muscle group as soon as you finish all of the exercises for a given muscle group during a workout and watch as your body transforms before your eyes.
Here's An Example of a Weighted Stretch for Your Back
Here's a back stretch that I've done in the past. I use much heavier weights than what I use for chin ups, and this helps me get stronger on chin ups at the same time.
There are many other weighted stretches you can do for all muscle groups within your body. This stuff really works well, and you can actively rest in between sets and exercises of your workout by using these weighted stretches.
If you have any questions about stretching with weights, let me know. I'll be glad to help with any questions you have.