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Weightlifting creates micro-tears in the muscles. When these micro-tears repair, the muscle grows back bigger. Does this same principle apply to tears caused by other means? For example, if you create micro-tears from overstretching cold muscles, does that also stimulate hypertrophy? If not, please explain biologically how muscles discriminate against the type of micro-tear.

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While I have no idea (or medical training) - personally, it sounds like overstretching a cold muscle would be more like to result in tendinitis, which isn't a muscular micro-tear. –  John C Sep 6 '11 at 15:47

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In terms of stretching the biggest risk isn't the muscle, but the connective tissue (ligaments and tendons). Overstretching that hurts the tendons will produce tendinitis, same as lifting heavy weights with improper form. However, you are correct in that some forms of stretching will affect muscle size and adaptation.

Certain forms of dynamic stretching, such as the Sumo wrestler's stomp movement while help strengthen and improve your adductor muscles among others in your legs. I wouldn't expect large improvements in size though. The goal of stretching is to improve your range of motion. The most bang for your buck is when you work your muscles hard, and they get bigger during recovery.

The process of warming up your muscles also warms up the connective tissue so that it is less prone to injury. When connective tissue is overstretched, you have an appreciable amount of pain. Additionally, the joints become loose, and easily injured or hyper-extended. The net result is absolutely not what you want because it will force you to stop lifting until you fully recover.

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