How Arnold used “anabolic stretching” to build his insane chest


One of the single most powerful techniques you can do for improving stubborn muscle groups is something called “loaded stretching.”  It can also be described as “resisted stretching.” Basically, you take a moderate weight, lower it into the maximum stretched position of a stretch-focused exercise and hold.

This is exactly the kind of thing that Arnold used to do in his workouts to build his incredible chest. He would hold the bottom position of a flye for 45-60 seconds (at the end of a chest workout when his pecs were pumped full of blood). Here’s the key that many people miss with this technique, though…

You can’t just passively maintain the stretch. That will work to some extent, but if you want REAL results from this method, you have to “resist” the stretch. For example, take dumbbell flyes. Come down slowly into the bottom peak stretch, hold for a brief moment, then COME BACK UP just slightly to get some active tension on the muscle. Once you’re there, keep activating the pecs as though you’re trying to perform the flye…just don’t exert enough force to actually DO the flye, if that makes sense.

If it takes 20 units of muscle “energy” to actually move the weight, exert only 18 or 19, so you’re ALMOST moving the weight. The key thing is that you’re not really “stretching” like in the way you do with most static stretching… you’re resisting the load in the stretched position.

There is a big difference. And you will feel this difference the first time you try it. I had mentioned this new program yesterday. It’s called “Anabolic Stretching.” The focus of this program is on resisted/loaded stretching like I described above…and it can dramatically speed up muscle growth, strength, and recovery. Here’s what else it can do (according to Peter Tzemis, the creator of the program):

1. It flips the muscle-building switch to ON

Anabolic stretching activates mTOR. The more mTOR is activated, the greater protein synthesis will be.

2. It creates an occlusion effect

Anabolic stretching lasting 45+ seconds will create an oxygen deprived environment in the stretched muscle. As a result, lactate will build up initiating the release of super anabolic, IGF-1 inside the muscle. The more IGF-1 released, the more muscle you’ll build.

3. It increases IGF-1 sensitivity

More IGF-1 is not better if your body isn’t responding well to it. By following anabolic stretching protocols, you will increase the sensitivity of the IGF-1 receptors dramatically; making the anabolic response even greater.

4. It causes intramuscular hyperthermia

After you release the anabolic stretch, there will be a surge of blood flow into the muscles. This phenomenon is known as intramuscular hyperthermia. If your blood contains adequate nutrients via proper post, peri, and pre-workout nutrition, you’ll dramatically increase the facilitation of muscle recovery and growth.

5. It fatigues the muscles, stimulating more growth and power

Since you’re using the muscles to perform the anabolic stretch, you’ll start to fatigue them from the intensity of the stretch. Fatiguing a muscle is a direct precursor to stimulating muscle growth.

6. Anabolic stretching transfers over to your workout

Flexibility does not equal mobility. Many strong athletes are rigid, and many flexible users are weak. With anabolic stretching, you’ll be building strength while becoming more flexible. Furthermore, unlike standard stretching, you’ll not only improve the parallel elastic component (PEC) of the muscle, but also the series elastic components (SEC). A.S. improves dynamic mobility and are much more transferable to movement performance.

7. Anabolic stretching bulletproofs your muscles from tearing

Tears and pulls happen when a muscle is violently stretched. Following A.S. protocols will help prepare the muscle to deal with something like this, making it almost bulletproof to injury.

8. A.S. strengthens your tendons

The majority of lifters hit a plateau and can’t get stronger because their tendons are weak. A.S. techniques strengthen tendons to overcome this problem.