Stretching, When and How to Implement It

stretchingI don’t know if you noticed, but on the Facebook page where I post links to articles I like, there were four posts all about flexibility, mobility and the value of stretching.

This wasn’t on purpose, maybe my own tightness’ were annoying me so I was attuned to articles popping up about stretching. I know I’ve had a few of my guys in the gym that I’ve been giving specific stretching advice to over the last week. Especially when it comes to internal rotation at the hip and thoracic extension in the spine. But that’s for another day.

Today then I want to offer some of my own thinking on some of the points raised in these articles. In doing so I hope to answer a few questions that have been thrown at me in response to the articles.

Now, I’m not saying I’m smarter than the authors, I just have my own opinions. Much of my opinions on the topic are based on me growing up immersed in the martial arts. Even now a huge proportion of my clientèle are involved in some form of martial art. So as much as I always disliked stretching, it is embroiled in me, it is part of my culture.

So what are these articles?

No 1: EFS Classic: Flexibility/Mobility: An elitefts™ Roundtable Discussion

First of all, check the list of names contributing to this discussion, that’s a proper who’s who.
It is Alwyn Cosgrove though that is closest to my own viewpoint, but he’s also a martial arts black belt, so that probably explains that. Jason Ferruggia also talks along similar lines to my own thinking. But reading other opinions, sometimes opposing opinions is extremely valuable.

No 2: Dispelling the Stretching Myths

Truth be told, upon rereading this it doesn’t tell me much new, it certainly doesn’t “dispel” any myths. What it does do is go some way to explain the science behind stretching, more in this in a while….

No 3: Gray Cook and the Toe-Touch Discussion

Now, I’m definitely not as smart as Grey Cook. I’m currently working through his “Movement” book and it’s seriously opening my mind.

No 4: This is 60 year old BJJ Black Belt and former world champion turned strength coach, Steve Maxwell. It’s not really an article, but it’s a video that asks a few questions of the viewer…

Now, there’s a stack of info there.

So what’s it all about? Are the scientists right? What about the anecdotal evidence? And did you see how strong, fluid and mobile Mr Maxwell is, even though he’s old enough to be your Dad? Can you move as freely as that?

Stretching works.

A lot of research carried out recently says it doesn’t (check Pubmed), but a few thousand generations of Yogi’s and Martial Artists say it does.

The truth is, it’s a tool, like everything else. Yes, you need to develop strength, yes you need speed and power. And yes you need mobility and flexibility.
Steve Cotter talks about Strength and Flexibility as two sides of the same coin. In his mind they are complementary and should be trained in tandem.
I think he’s onto something.

To start your workout, or even your day, you need mobility work. Call it Dynamic Range of Motion (DROM) or Joint Mobility or whatever, just systematically move through each joint in the body. Make sure to take in some basic movement patterns, such as the hip hinge and squat as well as the movements you’ll be using in your workout/sport.

Here’s an example:

or maybe a more flowing yoga based set:

Stretching is to be held for later in the day. I liked Jason Ferruggia’s take on this, stretching is best used several hours after training, but do take some time to stretch directly after training.
Straight after a workout, I like my guys to get on the foam roller, usually we roll the areas just trained. Straight after rolling we stretch. Stretches are held for a minimum of 60 seconds. We may use contract-relax or PNF methods, but always hold statically for a period before releasing the stretch.

In the evenings, get on the floor in front of the TV and go through any problem areas. Hold stretches for longer, up to 5 mins per stretch. No, that’s not a typo, it actually reads five minutes, but two minutes and up is cool, as long as you register change.
These stretches must be uncomfortable but never painful. Only go deeper when they become comfortable.

Regardless of what the scientists will tell you, this works.
The static work I advocate was taught to me by Anne Dempsey, a very smart lady who teaches Yoga, Somatics and Pilates. Anne told me about Yin Yoga, a style fo yoga where poses are held between 2 to 5 minutes at a time. It;s very gentle and forgiving, yet incredibly effective at opening the body up.

So lets put this into a brief timeline:

AM and/or pre workout – Mobility

Post Workout – PNF / Contrast-Relax / Dynamic or Ballistic type stretching

Evening – Yin style static stretching

What stretches should you do?
Stretch where ever you need it most, for most people I come across, thats the Quads, Hip Flexors, Piriformis and Pecs. I doubt your much different. I’m not!



50% off one of the best muscle building programs available

Quick heads up for you.

There’s a man over in New Jersey called Jason Ferrugia, he runs a gym called the Renegade Barbell Club and has a reputation for getting lads and ladies fiercly strong, lean and in incredible shape.
Muscle is this mans religion. I mean strong, functional, athletic muscle, not pretty boy pose down muscle.

His program titled “Muscle Gaining Secrets” is typical of his style, short, intense and brutally effective (the program, not Jason…), I have a few clients that can attest to that, I put them through MGS and they made huge progress, I was taken aback by the changes in these guys physiques.

Now, Jason, in an uncharacteristically festive mood has dropped me an email telling me that his package is on offer for 50% off, till this Saturday.
Like I said, I already have it and highly recommend it, so here’s your opportunity to get it and be ready to kick off the new year with a bang!

As a side note, if you don’t like to lift heavy, train hard and get results, don’t buy it, this certainly is NOT sweating to the oldies…..

You’ve been warned.

(The coolest thing about Jason is he actually does talk like Mickey from Rocky….that New Jersey accent cracks me up every time I hear him)

Enough blather, here’s the link:



+353 87 672 6090

Smug B*****d

I got this in an email the orther day, it’s from a guy called Jason Ferrugia pretending to talk about his training but really bragging about what a great holiday he’s having.
Smug git. Anyhow, it does give you a few ideas about holiday training, so while he’s out enjoying himself and I’m stuck home working for a living, we’re both keeping in shape, getting stronger and fitter.

Read on and be as envious as I am:

I recently had the pleasure of spending
an extended, Memorial Day weekend down
in the great city of Austin, Texas. For anyone who has never been, I highly recommend it. Among numerous other things to do, you definitely need to check out the museums, catch a flick a nd dinner at The Alamo Draft House, grab some food and drinks at The Oasis on Lake Travis, and go experience the incredible live music scene on Sixth Street. If Bob Shneider is playing, do yourself a favor and get a ticket. Thanks to Chad Thompson for that great recommendation.

Two of my favorite things in life are
training and good music and Austin
combined both of these passions perfectly.
Austin is a very fit and healthy city as evidenced by all the hiking, biking and walking trails around which we definitely took great advantage of. It is also known as the live music capital of the world and you can see every kind of music imaginable being performed in the countless bars downtown.

My only warning would be to those of
you that don’t deal with heat too well
to wait until October to visit. It was
at least a hundred and fifty thousand
degrees during the time we were there.

With so many great things to see and do it would have been easy to skip training while exploring Austin. That’s the great thing about the Muscle Gaining Secrets workouts and the style of training that I have developed over the last 14 years.
It takes very little time to get in a
great workout that will help build muscle and burn fat. On day two we did a quick 20 minute workout in the room following some of my Home Gym Warrior and bodyweight only training principles. With my Jungle Gym and TNT Cables safely packed for the trip this time we were able to get in a great training session in the comfort of our own hotel room without taking away too much time from sightseeing and having fun.

On day four of our trip we made our way over to Hyde Park Gym, thanks to the recommendation from Jake Andrews. It was a great hardcore style gym, which I highly recommend. Definitely my kind of scene.
Again, we had a full agenda of stuff we wanted to do so we wanted to get in and out of the gym quickly. Thanks to my time saving training system we got everything done in less than thirty minutes and were on the roof of The Iron Cactus eating our post workout meal and enjoying the sunshine in no time.

With summer right around the corner nobody wants to spend countless hours in the gym.
There are too many fun things to do and see. But we all still want to look good at the beach. The great news is that you can have fun this summer and still look great with my time efficient workouts and nutrition plans in Muscle Gaining Secrets.
Three days per week, 30-45 minutes and
you’re done! After that you won’t have to be ashamed to take off your shirt at the next pool party.

There’s still five weeks ’til the Fourth of July; plenty of time to get in great shape for summer.

Go to
now to get started today.

Be relentless,
Jason Ferruggia
Performance Enhancement Specialist
Chief Training Adviser, Men’s Fitness Magazine Author, Media Spokesperson, Consultant

Thanks J, can’t wait to see the photo’s


Wild Geese
any cause but our own

More Effective Muscle Building Workouts

By Jason Ferrugia

Why is it that almost all of the muscle building workouts you read about advocate body-part splits? Monday is chest day, Tuesday is back, Thursday is legs and Friday is arms…or something like that, I guess.

Why does everyone just do what everyone else is doing and follow the herd like a bunch of sheep without stopping to ever consider why?

You need to understand that most forms of muscle building workouts have just been passed down for decades from one generation to the next, without the inclusion of rational thought. Sometime in the 60’s, sensible muscle building workouts started becoming less and less prevalent with the rapidly growing usage of anabolic steroids.

In the days of old, men like Steve Reeves and Paul Anderson trained with far more reasonable, lower volume programs. Unfortunately these smarter muscle building workouts started to disappear during the 60’s. By the time Arnold got to Gold’s Gym in Venice for the first time, high volume, body-part splits were the widely accepted way for everyone to train for size and strength.

These types of muscle building workouts are not based on deductive reasoning but just on the fact that “it’s what everyone else is doing.” The proponents of these training methods will always blindly tell you that “higher volume training is needed for hypertrophy gains.” Says who? I can tell you for a fact that the University of Chicago isn’t wasting time examining the effects of Jay Cutler’s marathon workouts. There are no studies saying that you need 8-12 sets per body-part to grow. In fact there are studies that show the opposite; that one set is just as effective as three.

The proponents of this type of training will also tell you that higher volume training is associated with higher levels of growth hormone secretion. What they don’t tell you is that the level of GH increase is not enough to make any difference at all. In fact, almost anything you do elevates GH. Extreme temperatures elevate GH but my biceps don’t get bigger every time I take a shower. The increased GH secretion from training is so minimal that it is not enough to make the slightest difference whatsoever.

For the drug free lifter who does not possess muscle building genetics quite up to par with the current Mr. Olypia, training this way is a huge mistake. Not only does it drain your amino acid pool and glycogen stores but it dramatically enhances your recovery time between workouts. If you do 8-12 sets for chest on Monday you can not recover from that workout and be able to train again for seven days. So you are only getting one growth stimulus per week or fifty two per year. Now if you reduce your volume to the point where you can recover faster and more efficiently without draining your amino acid pool and glycogen stores so greatly, you can train bodyparts twice per week instead of once. Now instead of 52 muscle building workouts per year for each bodypart, you can now do 104. In fact, if your volume is kept low you can even get away with training bodyparts three times a week in certain situations. Now, which do you think will be more effective; 156 muscle building workouts per year or 52?

To train more often you absolutely have to lower your training volume. The total sets per workout should be kept low and the total sets per exercise should be even lower. There is no need to hit four sets of incline presses, flat bench presses and decline presses for your chest workout. Doing that is a form of neuroses; you think that you need to hit every angle and do and endless amount of sets to stimulate every last muscle fiber, but this is simply not the case.

The reason these types of muscle building workouts remain popular is because nobody wants to be told that they are wrong. Admitting your mistakes is something many people can’t do. It is why when something radically different is proposed, the high volume proponents get upset and offended. Nobody likes to have their ego bruised so they keep on doing and promoting the same old high volume workouts that they always have.

That’s fine, let them continue to do what they choose; personally I have way more important things to do than spend all of my waking hours in the gym. If I can get better results in a fraction of the time with short, highly effective muscle building workouts, I will choose that option every time.

Cut your volume down, up your weights and intensity and get ready for the “what are you on” questions to start rolling in.

Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For More Effecive Muscle Building Workout tips, check out

Wild Geese
any cause but our own

Body Building Transformation Challenge

Here’s a fantastic challenge for those of you looking to get bigger and stronger, especially if you’re the hardgainer type who struggles to put meat on you bones.

We all get better results when we have a deadline to work to, a clearly defined goal to aim for. Jason Ferrugia has just given you the deadline and offered $1000 (€640) as motivation.

Jason Ferrugia is a trainer and muscle building expert who won’t tell you to spend all day every day in the gym, he won’t fill you full of supplements. Instead what you get is his 20 years of research and experience on what to lift, how to lift it and how often to train.

He’s just launched a Transformation competition, read on to see how you can earn back your gym membership:

I am very excited to announce that we are holding the first ever Muscle Gaining Secrets
12 Week Transformation Contest.

The rules of the contest are the following:

–You must be a Muscle Gaining Secrets
customer and use one of the workouts from the package.

–You must register in our private forum and post your before pictures.

–You must begin on or before April 4th.

–The contest ends on July 4th, 2008.

The prizes awarded to the top finishers will

1st place- $1,000.00
2nd place- $500.00
3rd place- $250.00

We will also be adding some bonuses prizes as time goes on.

This is the perfect time to start
getting in shape for summer and have a shot at a thousand bucks while you’re at it.

So what are you waiting for?

Get on over to, now and start getting jacked today.

Train hard,
Jason Ferruggia
Relentless Athletics
37 Musket Drive
Basking Ridge, New Jersey 07920,

Best of luck.

Wild Geese
any cause but our own