First off, my thanks to Nick for allowing me to recruit him while I’m preparing for another trip to California.If you’re not familiar with Nick already, buckle up… he always has got good stuff and I know he prepared something special for you today and tomorrow.
Nick is best known for coming up with extremely unique exercises and training programs…stuff you won’t see anywhere else!
To give you a little background and to reassure you that Nick is not just some basement jockey with no formal background, he’s been training for 18 years and has a degree in physical education and psychology, covering advanced biomechanics, physiology, anatomy and kinesiology.
Thanks for showing me up Nick
But, to be honest, Nick would tell you that only SOME of that is going to come into play with the technique he’sgoing to tell you about today.
Take it away NIck…
Stretch Pause Training…a Superset for Maximizing Muscle Mass
Guest Post by Nick Nilsson and Muscle-Explosion
This is one my favorite muscle-building techniques…doesn’t require any special equipment but it’s going to TRASH your muscles (in a good way) and spur some fresh growth.
This technique is one that I use my “Muscle Explosion – 28 Days to Maximum Mass” program.
What Is Stretch Pause Training?
Stretch-pause training is a term I coined for this technique…it’s a form of rest-pause training, as you probably guessed, only you’re switching between a couple of different exercises instead of just one as you do with regular rest-pause training.
The idea with this type of training is based on giving your muscles room to grow by stretching the fascia that surrounds your muscles.
Fascia, if you’re not familiar with it, is the tough connective tissue that wraps around your muscles to basically keep them in place on your skeleton. I like to describe it as a pillowcase for your muscles.
Here’s the problem…when your fascia is tight and you’re trying to build muscle, that fascia can limit your muscle growth by not giving it anywhere to expand to. When the pillowcase is extremely tight, you can stuff a pillow in but the actual size isn’t going to get any bigger.
So you have to STRETCH the pillowcase, i.e. stretch the fascia, in order to give your muscles ROOM to grow.
If you’ve ever stopped training for an extended period (or know someone who has), you’ll notice when you start back in, you see very fast muscle growth…this is often known as muscle memory. Some people think this is because the muscles remember the stimulus and respond better to it.
I believe it’s because the fascia has ALREADY been stretched from your previous training and your muscles are actually growing at the rate they SHOULD be growing at! There is no memory involved…it’s just there isn’t as much resistance in your body to the expansion of the muscle tissue.
So how do we go about expanding the fascia to consistently make room for your muscles to grow?
Fascial stretching is recommended for this…basically, you work the muscle to fill it full of blood then stretch that muscle HARD. The blood-filled muscle gives the fascia something to stretch against and helps to expand it, little by little.
This is an excellent way to go. I’ve got a better way…
Instead of stretching AFTER the set is done, why not stretch DURING the set when you can use RESISTANCE to really maximize that fascial stretch.
THAT is what Stretch-Pause Training is all about. You’re going to fill the muscle up with blood, stretch the hell out of it, then finish with high rep partials to further fill the muscles up with blood to help push the fascia even more.
HOW TO DO IT
It’s actually not that complicated to do…I’m not saying it won’t be painful because, to be quite honest, it WILL be painful (and SHOULD be, if you’re doing it right!). It’s not going to be “injury” painful…just hard-stretch painful.
I’ll use chest for the example for this style of training as it’s the easiest to visualize.
First, you’ll need to set up a barbell bench press station. I ALWAYS recommend doing barbell bench in the power rack, even if you have normal bench press stations in your gym. I’ve always found it ironic that the most potentially dangerous exercise in the gym is the one where the equipment has pretty much NO safety features.
If you’re training at home, this is CRITICAL. If you train at home and don’t have a rack, use dumbbells for this technique. You’re going to be pushing your chest HARD by the end of the set and we don’t want you getting stuck under the bar.
Back to business…
Set a weight on the bar that you can do for 10 reps. This is going to be part 1 of the stretch-pause set. Grab a couple of dumbbells for flyes – something you could do 12 to 15 reps with on a normal set. I prefer to do flyes on a Swiss ball – I find it more effective for opening up the chest at the bottom of the movement because you can really get your shoulders back. You’ll get a better stretch, and that’s what this technique is all about.
That being said, you can definitely still use a flat bench – it’ll work just fine, too.
Once you’ve got your weights all set and ready to go, here’s what it’s going to look like:
1. Perform one set of 10 reps with the barbell bench press. Do these reps explosively, NOT slowly. Don’t bounce the bar off your chest but don’t move it slowly, either. Performing the reps explosively will force blood into the chest quickly.
2. Rest 20 seconds – during this rest period, get yourself ready to do the flyes.
3. Grab your dumbbells and get into position. Here’s where it gets interesting…you’re going to HOLD the bottom stretch position of the dumbbell flye for AT LEAST 5 seconds on EVERY rep. Do the flye exercise slowly and under complete control, making VERY sure you get a big stretch at the bottom of every rep. The goal with this section is not to get as many reps as possible but to get a MASSIVE stretch on the pecs on every rep. The number of reps you actually get means nothing…perform reps until you can’t move the weights or you can’t take the pain of the stretch anymore (but don’t so push so far you get a shoulder injury!).
4. Set the weights down and rest 20 seconds, moving yourself BACK to the flat bench.
5. Unrack the weight and perform as many top-range partial reps as you can with the weight you did for the first part of this stretch-pause set. The range of motion is very short – only a few inches. We’re sticking to the strongest range of motion of the bench press in order to maximize the number of reps you can get. You’ll probably find you can get 20+ partial reps with the same weight you started with. Use a fast, pumping tempo in this top range…on this part, we’re just looking to crank out as many reps as possible as quickly as possible.
6. Re-rack the weight. You’re done with your first stretch-pause set! If you really feel like it, you can also include some “normal” stretching in between sets as well. I recommend about 90 seconds rest between stretch-pause sets, at the very least. Two minutes is good as well.
That’s what this technique looks like for chest. You can use for almost any bodypart (though shoulders are tough to get a good stretch-position exercise with). Here’s a list of the exercises I recommend:
Chest – bench press and flyes
Back – chins/Pulldowns/rows and dumbbell pullovers or stiff-arm pushdowns
Quads – squats/leg presses and sissy squats
Hamstrings – lying leg curls and stiff-legged deadlifts
Shoulders – barbell shoulder press and cross-body leaning dumbbell lateral raises
Biceps – barbell or dumbbell curls and incline dumbbell curls
Triceps – dips or close-grip bench press and overhead dumbbell or barbell extensions
Calves – standing or seated calf raises and donkey calf raises
I recommend doing no more than 3 stretch-pause sets for back, chest and quads…2 for your other bodyparts (not all in the same workout, mind you – split your body into 2 days).
It might look like:
Chest – 3 SP sets
Back – 3 SP sets
Biceps – 2 SP sets
Calves – 2 SP sets
Shoulders – 2 SP sets
Triceps – 2 SP sets
Hamstrings – 2 SP sets
Quads – 3 SP sets
That’s pretty much it! Give this training style a try in your next workout and let me know how it works for you. If you’ve got any questions, I’m happy to help!
You can contact me by posting your comments below and I’ll swing by and answer your questions for the next 72-hours.
If you’re interested in checking out the FULL “Muscle Explosion” program, click here:
http://www.Muscle-Explosion.com <- click here
For the next couple of days, Vince and I are throwing in some limited-time bonuses, if you decide to get the full program – just till Thursday June 12th at midnight.
Vince is throwing in a copy of his “2 Inches in 30 Days” arm-building workout. He doesn’t guarantee 24-inch pythons but by adding this 20-minute workout only 2 times a week you will get your pipes bursting out of your t-shirts before you know it!
I’m throwing in a copy of my Hybrid Training program…it’s all about how to combine multiple forms of resistance in order to eliminate the weaknesses in the strength curves of specific exercises…bottom line, it’s 2 to 3 times more effective and efficient than ordinary exercises!
Build 5-10 lbs of muscle in the next 28-days
http://www.Muscle-Explosion.com <- click here
You can more info on Nick at these links below: