You may have heard of the idea of muscle fascia stretching to help increase muscle growth. What is the muscle fascia and is there any scientific evidence these help support muscle growth?
What is the muscle fascia?
Muscle fascia is a very tough material that surrounds individual muscles and muscle groups. It hugs the muscles very tightly.
Research on muscle fascia helping muscle growth:
I could not find any studies, where it directly supported that muscle fascia stretching increases muscle growth. Right now it is mostly based on indirect scientific studies, anatomy, and ancedotal evidence. The theory seems to have got started because people who used to have muscle (or were even fat), had a easier time putting back on muscle, called “muscle memory”.
Other supporting evidence, is that bodybuilders who spot inject site enhancement oil. This is where they inject a oil into a muscle in order to bring up a lagging muscle. The most notorious user of this was Greg Valentino, who went overboard and has made his body look ridiculous. Many people assume that the oil is causing temporary muscle gain, but in fact based on user experience it appears to cause actual long term muscle gain as the result of stretching the muscle fascia. Many pro-bodybuilders, such as Olympia winners Jay Cutler and Arnold Schwarzennegar, do forms of weighted fascia stretching as part of their workouts.
It is reasonable to assume from all this, that muscle fascia should help make muscle gains easier. If you are looking for scientific research, surprisingly there is another reason why muscle fascia may help muscle growth. You can read more about it in a previous article I wrote:Does hyperplasia cause growth in human skeletal muscle?
With the evidence on hyperplasia and muscle fascia, I have no doubt that muscle fascia stretching will help boost your muscle growth. I recently started incorporating it into my workouts.
How to stretch the muscle fascia tissue:
Muscle fascia stretching should be done after a good muscle pump from your workout. All fascia stretching is done at the bottom of the negative rep for a good long stretch of 30 seconds to one minute. For example if your doing chest, after your chest workout sets, hold a good long weighted fascia stretch with a chest flye at the bottom. Make sure you don’t lower the weight to the point of pain. You should feel a stretch and it should be tough to hold, but it should not be excessive as it will cause injury.
Muscle fascia stretching automatically grow muscle?
No. You will still need to train hard and increase calories and protein. The muscle fascia tissue is stretched which allows the opportunityof muscle growth to happen. If you don’t stimulate it by bulking and weight training, you won’t notice any gains.