Don’t get me wrong. Building pounds of new muscle takes dedication, hard work and the right type of workout. I’ve already shown you plenty of times how the wrong workout can leave you on empty and regressing instead of progressing.
However, that said…even with the right workout in place you could still be leaving what I call “easy muscle growth” on the table by ignoring the most overlooked element to success. That is simply STRETCHING BETWEEN SETS!
Think about how easy it really is. I know, some of you will argue and say “But I don’t have time to stretch between sets.” To them I say, “C’mon guys…this isn’t my first trip around the gym.” Don’t think that I don’t see what most guys spend their time doing between sets.
What Most Guys Do Between Sets
Plenty a midset break is taken doing one of the following:
1. PLAYING WITH AN IPOD
I know…you’re looking for that perfect song to get you ready for the next set and the random shuffle that just pumped out your girlfriend’s favorite Taylor Swift song isn’t cutting it. But there’s no reason you can’t have a leg up on the bench stretching out that hamstring your working that day, while you’re thumbing through for the next set motivation music!
2. “OBSERVING” THE CUTE BLONDE ACROSS THE GYM
Yeah, I know. You were just interested in trying to make sure she was using the proper form and didn’t hurt herself while doing the prone hamstring curls. Sure you were. Seems like yet another missed opportunity to put the stretch to those working muscles while wishing you were playing trainer and stretching a certain fellow gym-goer!
Now this one may seem a bit odd, but have you ever seen the guys who just sit and have a staredown with themselves in the mirror between sets? I wonder who wins? Seriously. An icy cold stare, no expression….a bit of anger and then right into the next set without a word or even a breath.
I like the focus but the borderline insanity behind it kind of unnerves me and everyone else around them! In this instance the stretching would do us all a favor and we could breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you have other things on your mind other than looking colder than the steel you’re lifting!
Don’t Miss Out On Easy Muscle Growth
It really doesn’t matter which of the three you do….or even if you have another favorite passtime between sets that I didn’t mention. The point is….by not spending the time between sets doing the one thing that will actually not only benefit you in THAT workout but much beyond that workout…then you are missing a golden opportunity at new muscle growth and that’s why I call it EASY muscle growth.
There’s not much added effort required to turn good progress into great progress. Just 30 seconds of a good static stretch on the muscle group you’re training is all it takes. The reason this happens is simple. After a set, your muscles are pumped and it seems you even have a hard time moving them because they’re so swollen. While some love this feeling and live for it in their workouts, it’s also detrimental to progress on the next set.
How come you ask? Because it’s gradually shortening the muscle and making it tighter. Less range of motion to work within equals smaller recruitment overall of total muscle fibers. Less muscle fiber recruitment on an exercise and you’ll be left with well…..smaller muscles!
So instead of having that be your fate, stop doing “nothing” and start doing “something” between your sets…stretch between sets! You might really surprise yourself as you start to see the results this can have. No added sets, no bumping up the weight, no special supplement needed. Just a bit of between set smarts to kick start your growth to the next level!
Want to learn more about how to specifically stretch the muscles you’re training into new growth and when? Head to /best-workout-program-for-men and see how with just a few quick steps, you can begin stretching the limits of your hard work in the gym to get even more out of your workouts. Give the AthLEAN-X Training System a try and see for yourself!
Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS
Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.