Experts have long preached about the virtues of stretching. It keeps you strong, limber, flexible and injury-free, and can even cause you to grow more muscle.
While there’s no doubt that stretching is essential for bodybuilders, some experts have taken this one step further, claiming that by stretching, you can selectively recruit and activate specific kinds of muscle fibers – especially the white, fast-twitch muscle fibers that get you huge and strong in a hurry. But is this true? Can stretching really activate these specific fibers more than others?
Not really – and now we have proof.
A study examined the effects of stretching on the activation and stimulation of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers. The researchers found that rather than triggering fast-twitch muscle fibers specifically, stretching was more general in nature, equally affecting the activation of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers.
So, here’s your FUSION FACTOID: While there’s no doubt that stretching is extremely beneficial and can keep you limber, flexible, functional and injury-free, the science proves stretching can’t activate one specific muscle fiber type to trigger growth.
- FUSION Research Team
Source: Chalmers, Gordon. Can fast-twitch muscle fibres be selectively recruited during lengthening contractions? Review and applications to sport movements. Sports Biomechanics. January 2008;7(1):137–157.