Okay, be honest now, how many of you reading this can honestly say, hand on heart, that before you begin your workouts each week, that you set aside ten minutes to perform a basic warm up and stretching routine? If you honestly do stretch and warm up before training, then that’s fantastic, but if you don’t, you should try to get to the gym a little earlier, and get a good stretch. Not only will a proper stretching routine help improve your athletic ability, and reduce your chances of injury exponentially, experts have also revealed that stretching can actually help assist with muscle growth.
Yes, as hard to believe as it may be, the evidence does seem to point to the fact that you can build more muscle and increase muscle hypertrophy rates by implementing a stretching routine into your bodybuilding regime. Here’s a look at some simple stretches that can help you to achieve a more muscular body.
Chest stretches are static stretches that should be performed at the end of your chest training routine. Doing so will help to force more oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood into your chest muscle cells, which will subsequently enhance the overall rates of protein synthesis. To perform this exercise, simply take a bar or a handle of a machine that is around level with your waist. Next, slowly extend backwards until you feel a deep stretch in your pectoral muscles. Hold this position for the next 30 – 60 seconds or so, take a one minute rest, and repeat the process again. Afterwards your chest will feel more pumped than ever.
Biceps, chest, and shoulder stretches
This stretch targets three major muscle groups at once, and it couldn’t be easier to perform. Simply take hold of a stationary object with one hand, and, making sure to maintain an upright posture, slowly rotate your body away in the opposite direction. You should feel a deep stretch in your deltoids, pectorals, and bicep muscles. Again, hold for 30 – 60 seconds, switch arms and repeat, and then take a one minute breather before doing the stretch again.
Your quadriceps are the largest muscle groups in your body, so it is important that you stretch them to avoid injury, and to help you pack mass onto them. Simply take a seat in a seated leg curl machine, lower the pad so that it is just below your buttocks, and then place the pin in the stack to ensure the pad remains firmly in place. Carefully hook one of your feet over the top of the pad, and then slowly lean downwards and backwards until you feel your quadriceps being stretched throughout. Hold for 30 – 60 seconds, repeat with the other foot, take a one minute break, and repeat again.
There aren’t many stretches that target your shoulders very well, but this is one of them. Take a bar or the handle of a machine that is around waist height, and grab it from the reverse, so that your palms are positioned backwards. Take a step forwards with both feet, and you should feel your front deltoids getting a deep stretch. Like the other stretches, hold for 30 – 60 seconds, take a quick breather, and repeat once more.