When you think about gaining weight, stretching is probably not the first thing that pops into your head. But stretching plays a critical role in building muscle, and developing muscle tone.
Every muscle in your body is enclosed in a bag of tough connective tissue known as fascia. Fascia is important for holding your muscles in their proper place in your body.
But your fascia may be holding back your muscle growth. If you feed them and train them properly they should grow, but what if something is holding them back? They have no room to grow!
Because fascia is so tough, it does not allow the muscles to expand. The size of the muscle will not change regardless of how hard you train because the connective tissue around your muscles is constricting the muscles within.
The solution is stretching.
By stretching your muscles under specific conditions, you can actually stretch your fascia and give your muscles room to grow.
The key to effective fascial stretching is the pump. The best time to stretch to expand the bags that are holding in your muscles is when your muscles are pumped full of blood.
When your muscles are fully pumped up, they are pressing against the fascia. By stretching hard at that time, you increase the pressure on the fascia greatly, which can lead to the expansion of the fascia. This can be done effectively during your training session between exercises or sets when the most blood is in the muscle.
Be sure you do not stretch so hard that you cause the injury to yourself. You should not feel any sharp pain, just a steady pull. Hold the stretch for at least 20-30 seconds as you must give time for the fascia to be affected by the stretch. This type of stretch should only be done when the muscles are well warmed up, if not just stretch normally and not intensely.
So get stretching!