Stretching is KILLING Your Gains (BIG MISTAKE!)

Stretching is KILLING Your Gains (BIG MISTAKE!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today we’re going to talk about why stretching
is killing your gains. To demonstrate it I want to start by having
us all stand up and do a set of 15 degree angle dorsiflexion, 130 degree knee flexion,
and 110 degree hip flexion, lower lumbar/spine stabilizing, scap retracting, forward eye
gazes. With, maybe, 300lbs. You don’t know what that is? See, the thing is, that’s just a squat, but
your body doesn’t store that information that way. Your body recognizes a squat as a squat, and
you learned it from a very young age. It’s called an engram. An engram is a stored motor pattern that allows
us to be neurologically efficient so when I have to squat – let’s say, when I have
a muscle marker in my pocket that I drop, I don’t think about going through every
component that I just listed out for you. But in order to get down there, yes, all that
stuff is happening for me to go down here and squat. But instead, instantly my body knows ‘get
down to the ground, pick that thing up, and go’. So what happens is, when you start to do static
stretching, holding stretches for 30 seconds, 45 seconds – some people do them for a minute
and a half – prior to either training, or going out and competing in something, you’re
asking for trouble because what you’re trying to do is – in an effort to do a good thing
you’re causing your body to have to readapt on the fly, and it doesn’t really do a great
job of it. Especially early on in your training. So it compromises your ability to do this. So if I were to do that before a squat, and
I stretch all the things out – because guys do everything, they’ll stretch out their quads,
they’ll stretch out their hamstrings, they’re going to stretch out their hips before they
do a squat, even upper body because they know they’ve got to get their shoulders back in
order to grab the bar. They go through this whole process and when
they step under the bar, the body knows a squat based on what your ability to do that
squat is on an everyday basis. Now, with this temporary increase in length
that I’ve caused by disrupting it through my static stretching, now when I step under
the bar, maybe even if I was stretching my forearms out a little bit – because people
do everything before they squat. Now I go in and I grab, I can actually turn
a back squat, or a high bar squat into more of a low bar squat, just because I have more
flexibility here through my forearms, at least temporarily. If I go into a squat there that’s definitely
going to disrupt my motor pattern. If my hips are a little bit looser and I go
down in the squat, when I go down a little lower than I’m used to, while it’s not a bad
thing I’m just not used to that. So now, my body is trying to say “Wait, is
he squatting? Is that in the engram that I have stored? Because it doesn’t match up, exactly.” There are differences here. And it spends all this time trying to match
up the differences between what it’s experiencing now, versus what you have stored, and neurologically
you become inefficient. The effort is being spent there, rather than
maximizing your strength in performance here. That’s where your lift is compromised. So is static stretching bad? No, static stretching is a great thing because
ultimately, it leads to increased muscle length and flexibility. That’s going to benefit you in the weight
room, just not right now. Not before your workout. I’m going to tell you how you can do it if
you demand, and insist on doing that, but it’s not really what we’re looking for. I’d rather give you a better way to do it. Anyone that’s played golf can experience the
same thing. If I were to go and swing, I have a golf swing. That’s what my body has stored; this golf
swing. Back, and then through. There’s my swing. But if I spend all my time static stretching
before I go play golf, when I step up to the first tee – you’ve probably experienced
this yourself if you’ve played any length of time – all of a sudden the back side
of my shoulders here are a lot more loose than it usually is. So instead of getting to here before I initiate
the up part o my swing here, now I’m able to go back even further. But that changes what’s demanding here at
my hip, in order to stabilize the swing. So everything is thrown off and I spend the
first four holes trying to recapture my ability to match up what it is I’m trying to do, with
what my body knows is a golf swing. So I might throw away four holes. And if I’m competing in golf, that’s more
than enough to screw up your whole round. Finally, I’ll give you one more example. If I have a bench-press and I’ve spent all
my time static stretching out my chest – and I’ve shown you guys some really good static
stretches to differentiate between pec minor, and pec major, and they’re important. Just not to be done now, before I get to here,
and do a set of bench-press because now with this increased flexibility I wind up drifting. My arms aren’t in the same stored motor pattern. I can’t be as neurologically efficient here,
and then focus my effort on power and strength development – which are both neurologically
driven. Instead, I’m trying to find, and match up
that stored pattern. Even just a little bit of variance here can
change things. When we static stretch, guys, we’re temporarily
causing a length tension relationship, and a difference of the cross-bridging of the
actin and myosin that help to create a contraction. So even if it’s just a little bit lengthened,
versus the normal, we’re trying to reestablish what’s normal. So what would you do if you insisted on doing
static stretching before your training? Well, you’d better spend some time reestablishing
what’s normal. What I mean by that is, you go through, before
you start your training, you’ve got to go through and start to do all, I believe, reintegration
of these motor patterns by doing these exercises you’re going to do that day. Two, or three sets of each one, exploring
the new range of motion that you’ve been gaining through your static stretching with lighter
weights. That could take an extra 15, or 20 minutes. But I believe it’s necessary if your goal
for that day is to do anything where we’re improving your strength, especially. So the alternative is to spend your time,
instead, doing a quick warmup, and then doing an active warmup using dynamic stretching
activities to get yourself ready. Not hanging out in prolonged stretching for
any length of time, but doing dynamic stretches for those same muscle groups, and then spending
one, or two, or three sets doing the first exercise you’re going to do that day using
a nice, steady warmup progression without tiring yourself out, just to groove that move,
and then go get ready to do your workout. But if you spend any more time than that doing
all your static stretching, in the long run, I promise you, your strength gains are going
to be limited by that, and ultimately your size gains as well because you can’t get the
most out of your workouts because your body is simply mismatched, and the neuroefficiency
that you’ve created in the first place is being interfered with, and screwed up. So guys, I hope you’ve found this video helpful. In the meantime, if you’re looking for a program
that puts it all together step by step – we tell you when to do the right stretches, at
the right time – head to ATHLEANX.com and get our ATHLEANX training programs. In the meantime, if you’ve found the video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what you want me to cover in a
future video and I’ll do my best to do that for you in the days, and weeks ahead. All right. See you soon.

100 Replies to “Stretching is KILLING Your Gains (BIG MISTAKE!)”

  1. Interesting perspective. I'm a newbi so I don't do weighted squats yet. I do stretch between sets on machines though. It seems from what Jeff is saying, it's a matter of timing when to stretch, maybe after the workout.

  2. If static stretching is killing my gains, why then is it ok to do dynamic stretching pre-workout? They both stretch out your muscles right?

  3. Just experienced this for the first time 🙁

    Decided to mix in some static rotator cuff and serratus anterior (winged scapula D: ) into my dynamic stretches, couldn't finish my first set on my OHP

  4. It's good that he covered this. I have found through the years that the tighter I feel going into the gym then the better my squats were. Most people think that is bad but it's just the opposite.

  5. Stretching is good for flexible body , if we do not do it then our Bones can cracked. Simple example: – supposed you never did it and if you jump or run fast then back pain/joined pain/muscles pain start or may be your bone factured. This video is wrong because every player stretched every part of the body before playing the game.

  6. Never even considered that, thank you man you're a veritable treasure trove of information

  7. 90% great vids but this one is poor. its way too generic. i can tell you as someone has had significant injuries.. warm incorporate a stretch to achieve your 'usual ROM' is important. i also stretch inbetween sets when doing chest work.. definitely helps.

  8. So what about before a 12 hour paintball scenario? Should I stretch before, after or both? Its Invasion of Normandy and im allies, running out of the boat cover to cover. Should I stretch? Like im experienced with stretching and cramping concept, but based on this I don't know if I should stretch before hand. I weigh 160 without my gear on and like 210 lbs+ with gear on. Would stretching my legs make me wobbly?

  9. Your videos are all useful but also ALL too long
    Cut them down to more essentials
    Say the same thing with less words and less by 2-3 minutes. Thank you

  10. I agree I once was stretching my legs dislocated my knee got an mpfl surgery lost 1.5 years of good workout and gained 35pounds

  11. Tbh just to get a 6 pack is so confusing imma just eat better food and exercise not fuckin doing a shit tone of research before even starting

  12. This dude is dumb as hell lol you should always stretch period … You stretch so you have the increased motion you should stretch every day without fail.

  13. Just tell us we have to warmup before workout, and stretch after the workout. Why does he always have to be so dramatic??? His videos are 100% dramatic

  14. I’d rather do some light stretching than have an increased change of pulling a muscle. If you have ever pulled a muscle before it hurts like a B**

  15. So true, very much applicable to tennis. Stretching before the match will mess you up, especially on the serve. Pretty much as bad as benching 200+ and other gym activities and trying to have a decent tennis hit 😅

  16. I started watching your videos a couple of weeks ago. You are INTENSE. 😀 I got to this video because I'm about to turn 36 and coming back from soccer I wanted to stretch but wanted to make sure it was right to do so right after. At this point in my life I have heard all the sides you can imagine. After everything I've seen I trust. Also, I just heard what you said about dynamic stretches on an anime. Even the trainer character is kinda intense too. You should react to that! XD Thanks for the content!

  17. I have trouble to go the gym when I have to look after my son on the holidays, is it possible to go outside and train having my son with me

  18. Dude, the only muscle I stretch before doing squats are my groin. I have to, I hurt my groin muscle one time by not stretching it prior to lifting. That muscle just won’t take the stress of the weight if I don’t stretch it. Can’t risk another groin injury

  19. To make a 6 min video 2 sec don’t stretch before. Warm up ur musel with light weight then go into workout after workout u streach

  20. I’m a registered yoga teacher. Some of my clients are bodybuilders, some are power lifters. This video is great, very informative, and I hope people watch it all the way through rather than just reading the title, which is TERRIBLY misleading. Warm up before, then lift, then stretching is an absolute must. There are different kinds of yoga. Yin yoga is the perfect post workout for bodybuilders; I guarantee it will actually maximize your gains by helping you heal, stay resilient, and increase myofascial space when done properly. Stretching will not kill your gains, that’s ridiculous. Stretch after you lift if you want to get bigger without hurting yourself.

  21. So which is it Jeff you can’t have it both ways? https://athleanx.com/articles/stretch-between-sets-the-secret-to-easy-muscle-growth

  22. What IF….. your body adapts to you always stretching before you workout so then it doesn’t throw off your muscle memory?

  23. I think this is reaching a lil bit….athlean u taught me so much but this looks a lilnit picky some lil detail that dosent matter

  24. Be careful guys having muscles is killing your gains ! If you have a muscle take it off (advice from heart to heart)

  25. Jeff explained the anatomy in great detail to why these stretched are bad. Nah I will probably listen to the real experts here in the comment section.

  26. Skeptical snake eyes..Lol 🤣
    I just feel like warming up my body before I throw a bunch of weights on it is a good thing 👍🦸

  27. I was told that stretching before weight training lengthened your muscles causing you to create less micro-tears in your muscle slowing your gains, while stretching after pulled the micro-tears a little promoting muscle growth. a very simplified version of what I was told but close enough.

  28. THUMBS UP!!!
    then watch!!

    soooo, no stretching PRIOR to a workout (or during, a trainer told me years ago).

    soooo, i should stop doing my yoga BEFORE my strength training, even though i take a 15-30 minute break in between.

    warm up BEFORE … yes.

    stretch when all is said and done.

    ok.

  29. Where in the program is stretching covered? I just finished week one and there's not been a mention of it – if there's suggested stretches I want to make sure I'm doing them since I'm super sore – week one was great!

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