THE STRETCH REFLEX: OVERVIEW
If you want to experience faster muscle growth then you need to find some way to include the 11 exercises in this video into your workouts. The key to building muscle is to utilize muscle growth training techniques that push you to your limits and unlock stimulus that create overload. The stretch reflex is one of those built-in muscle functions that produces a stronger contraction of a muscle when it is immediately preceded by a stretch.
This can occur even more if the antagonist muscle is allowed to contract prior to the initiation of the contraction.
THE STRETCH REFLEX: TRAINING APPLICATION
That said, knowing that this phenomenon exists is one thing. Applying it to your own training is something that you need to do if you want to see your fastest gains ever. Here is how you can do it in a variety of muscles throughout the body.
THE STRETCH REFLEX: TRICEPS
For triceps, the best option is to use the lying triceps extension. This can be done with either a straight bar or an EZ bar. The key is that this move stretches the triceps fully because it not only flexes the elbow but it also gets the arm up overhead which places the long head on greatest stretch.
Unlike the pushdown which only focuses it’s stretch on the medial and lateral heads by flexing the elbow, the lying extension doesn’t have any shortcomings. The way to train with the stretch reflex is to be aware of its existence and more aggressively attack the bottom of the rep to be sure you’re applying the stretch.
This is only possible when you perform full range of motion reps, once again reinforcing how beneficial the practice of performing your lifts at least in some part with full range of motion. For a more advanced way to do this, you would lift the weight back up a quarter of the way and hold for a brief second. Drop the weight from this position and immediately reverse the motion.
THE STRETCH REFLEX: BICEPS
For biceps, the incline biceps curl is the exercise of choice. Here again however, it is important to not shortcut the range on the lift. Get those elbows back behind your body and be sure to contract your triceps to get that reflexive relaxation of the biceps. Forcefully contract every rep. The 1 1/4 rep method is on the table here as well.
THE STRETCH REFLEX: BACK
For the back there are three options. The underhand row, seated row and meadow’s row. The key to all of these exercises is that the muscle stretch on the lats is enhanced vs other back exercise options. The ability to get the arm out in front of the body places a larger stretch on the lat muscles and enables the stretch reflex for more powerful contractions on every rep.
THE STRETCH REFLEX: CHEST
For chest, the fly is not one of the exercises that I prefer. In fact, it places the shoulder in a vulnerable position when performing it. Instead, you can do the 3D Crossover. This gives you the benefit of the stretch on the chest without placing the shoulder at risk. Bring the arm back behind you and turn the sternum away as much as you can to increase the stretch on the chest on every rep.
The dumbbell bench press is also a good choice. The dumbbells allow you to go slightly deeper on every rep. Be sure to remember to use the chest master tip and unshrug your shoulders before doing a rep. This places the chest in a position of greater dominance and able to contribute more to the strength of every rep performed.
THE STRETCH REFLEX: LEGS
The legs can be trained effectively with either the RDL or the Squat. The squat however is not effectively applying the stretch reflex to the quads. Instead, it’s hitting the glutes. At the bottom of a squat the quads, while stretched at the knee, are not at the hip. The glutes however are greatly stretched in the hole because of the extreme hip flexion that comes with a below parallel squat.
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