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J. Silva,1 R. Lowery,2 J. Antonio,3 S. McCleary,1 J. Rauch,1 J. Ormes,2 K. Shields,2 M. Sharp,2 J. Georges,2 S. Weiner,2 J. Joy,2 and J. Wilson2
1University of Tampa; and 2University of Tampa Human Performance Lab, 3Nova Southeastern University
*Award Eligible—Undergraduate Student Research Award for an outstanding poster abstract presentation.
Previous research using the avian stretch model has demonstrated profound skeletal muscle hypertrophy and hyperplasia. Purpose: To investigate the effects of weighted intraset stretching on skeletal muscle size and strength in human subjects. Methods: Twenty-four recreationally trained subjects (20 ± 2.0 years of age) were randomly assigned to stretching and non-stretching conditions. In both conditions subjects performed 4 sets of 12 repetition calf raises on a leg press twice a week for 5 weeks. The first set was performed at 90% of subjects 1-RM, followed by 3 sets in which the weight decreased by 15% of subjects 1-RM per set. Between sets the stretching group allowed the weight on the leg press to stretch the gastrocnemius for 30 seconds before continuing, while the non stretch condition held the weight stack with their feet neutral and not stretched. Gastrocnemius muscle thickness was determined pre and post via ultrasonography. Results: There was a significant group × time effect (p ≤ 0.05) for muscle thickness in which the delta change was greater in the stretching vs. non stretching condition (+23 ± 5.0 vs. + 9 mm ± 4.8). There were time (p ≤ 0.05) effects for strength in which both the stretching (+49.7 ± 8.0 kg) and non stretching (+37.1 ± 7.0 kg) increased in strength, with no differences between conditions.Conclusions: Intraset stretching may increase skeletal muscle hypertrophy when combined with resistance training. Practical Application: Athletes interested in inducing skeletal muscle hypertrophy can implement intraset stretching into their regimens