Q: Your e-zines on fascia stretching are very interesting. I’ve been using your suggestion of supersetting a contracted exercise with a stretch exercise. It feels awesome, and I’m already seeing more muscle expansion, like on my inner chest. My question is, Why should I do actual full reps on the stretch move? Why not just hold in the stretch position so it’s a constant stretch on the pumped muscle?

A: We get excited and proud when bodybuilders take an idea and run with it. Congratulations. That’s an excellent variation that could make the fascia-expansion supersets even more effective—a Static X on the stretch exercise.

For the uninitiated, our fascia-expansion technique is engorging the target muscle with a contracted-position exercise, like leg extensions—blood pours into the muscle immediately after due to occlusion—then you quickly move to a stretch exercise, like sissy squats, to elongate the pumped muscles. That helps push out and stretch the fascia, the fibrous tissue that encases the muscle. It’s believed that a tight fascia restricts muscle growth, so loosening it can allow faster unbridled size gains.

We like your idea of a stretch hold, or Static X, but if you’re doing two supersets as we recommend, you may want to do the stretch holds on only the second round. That’s because you still want to get some of the force-generating benefits—fast-twitch activation—on the first set of the stretch move, which you best achieve with movement.

With that slight tweak, here’s how your 3D Positions-of-Flexion triceps routine might look:

Midrange: Lying extensions, 2 x 9-12

Fascia-Expansion Superset 1
Contracted: Pushdowns, 1 x 9-12
Stretch: Overhead extensions, 1 x 9-12

Fascia-Expansion Superset 2
Contracted: Pushdowns, 1 x 9-12
Stretch: Overhead extensions (Static X set), 1 x 30 seconds to 1 minute

Jonathan Lawson, triceps pushdowns and overhead DB extensions - Major Muscle Expansion

There are a number of ways to vary that. For example, as we’ve mentioned, you can do a drop set on the contracted-position exercise, pushdowns in this case. That can give you an even bigger pump before you move to the stretch-position exercise. The bigger the pump, the more the fascia is stretched when you elongate the muscle during the second exercise. Either way, by the second round your triceps will be full and look like two overfilled water balloons on the backs of your arms. As you mentioned, it does feel awesome.

Once again, good thinking—and keep experimenting to keep growing. [Note: For the 3D POF exercises for every bodypart, see the e-book 3D Muscle Building, and for more on the latest stretch-overload research, see the Freak-Physique Stretch-Overload Workout.]

Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

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