Stretching and Bodybuilding
Stretching is too often overlooked when it comes to building muscle. Science will tell us that in order to achieve maximum growth from pumping iron stretching is something that has proven itself to enhance muscle growth. Science has now proven that when stretching is integrated correctly with a bodybuilding program that muscle growth will speed up.
It is unfortunate that many bodybuilders disregard stretching as not stretching at all can and will eventually lead to a slow-down of muscle growth. Stretching the connective tissue that surround any muscle is vitally important to ensure maximum growth.
If the connective tissue surrounding the muscle is never stretched it can and eventually will constrict the expansion and growth of the muscle group concerned. In order for any muscle growth to happen the surrounding fascia has to be stretched so that it can make way for the expanding muscle being worked.
The famous "pump" that bodybuilders get from training is when the blood rushing into the muscle starts pushing the surrounding connective tissues which are being stretched. That tight feeling now called the "pump" is when the surrounding fascia are being stretched to accommodate for the extra blood in the muscle which is actually a good time to stretch.
So the best time to stretch is right after a certain body-part has been trained when it is fully loaded with blood. The reason why this is the best time is because the surrounding fascia and connective tissue are already being stretched because of the extra volume of blood pushed into the targeted muscle.
Stretching correctly immediately after the "pump" has shown to improve muscle growth. But stretching does more than increase the muscle growth as it also aids the eventual shape and size of the muscle because expanding the fascia and all the connective tissue attached will pull the muscles away from each other improving the separation shown in a bodybuilding contest.
There are two different types of stretching that can be done for bodybuilding and they are called active stretching done with weights and static stretching done without weights, both designed to expand all the surrounding connective tissue and the fascia of the targeted muscle.
Incline D/B Flyes is a good example of the active stretching mentioned above, the same with bent-arm D/B pullovers or standing overhead B/B triceps extension but it could also include movements like standing calf raises or the preacher curl for biceps, or even stiff-legged deadlift for hamstrings.
Static stretching is normal stretching done without weight like touching your toes with straight legs, which should be held in the stretched position for around 30 to 60 seconds to be effective. It takes a bit of practice as you slowly increase flexibility you will increase the rate at which you build muscle.