Stretching Helps Build Muscle After Resistance Exercise

Sarcopenia describes the age-related loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs in the aged adult population. Performing resistance exercises alone does not seem to yield much improvement. A new study gives evidence that stretching after resistance exercises may be the right approach to recovering muscle loss.

It is commonly recommended that aged adults participate in resistance exercise training as a means of combatting sarcopenia. However, a number of studies have shown that aged adults don’t response to resistance training as well as young adults. Some say that the aged skeletal muscle is less responsive to mechanical stimuli because of  increased muscle stiffness. Therefore, if the muscles are less responsive they will not build up when exercised.

This study examined whether muscle building activity in a single bout of calf raises resistance exercise is reduced in aged compared to young women within 30 minutes of the exercise, and whether this response would change in the aged group following participation in a stretching intervention (SI).

The researchers recruited sixteen healthy, female participants  in the young (24 yr) or the aged group (74 yr). Participants completed a single bout of resistance exercise to maximally engage the calf muslces. Muscle biopsies were immediately collected from the muscles.

The aged group then took part in an 8-week SI. Following the SI, they performed the same bout of resistance exercise and, again, muscle biopsies were collected.

They found that in the initial bout of exercise, the young adults showed a significant increase of muscle building activity compared to the control limb. However, the aged adults showed no significant increase over the control limb.

What they also found was that following the SI, there was a trend toward increasing response of the aged group to the bout of resistance exercise. Additionally, following SI the muscle building activity response of the aged group was similar to the young group.

It can be concluded that the muscle building response observed in the aged adults following the SI became more similar to the response observed in the young adults. This may indicate that stretching influenced a positive change in the response to a single bout of resistance exercise in the aged adults.

Wow that is amazing. What this means is that exercises like yoga that include muscle resistance and stretching can provide the right approach to keeping muscle as we age. All you need to include is a protein drink at the end of your workout to help your muscle gains.


  1. Great study! Who would have thought stretching would have such importance. I will do yoga now, even though I am guy I guess it is awkward for a guy to do yoga since ladies are the ones generally practicing it. Maybe I go alone at home watch videos? or joining in a group will be more productive? Any thoughts?


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