How Effective is Fascia Stretch Training – FST-7 Basics
FST-7 stands for Fascia Stretch Training. The number seven refers to the number of sets you will be performing. FST-7 was designed by a trainer called Hany Rambod and places great emphasis on filling the surrounding muscle area with blood while achieving the biggest muscle pump you possibly can.
By forcing blood into the muscle and achieving a pump we flood the muscle with key vitamins, minerals, amino acids and oxygen via the blood. The idea behind doing this is to stretch the fascia of the muscle and increase your chances of muscle growth, especially for those stubborn body parts that never seem to grow!
Fascia is the sheath of dense connective tissue in our bodies that help protect our muscles and maintain their position. Hany Rambod argues that the fascia can reduce our potential for muscle growth by not allowing sufficient room to build new muscle tissue. By stretching the fascia of the muscle through FST-7 training, Hany Rambod believes we can increase our potential for muscle growth within any stubborn or weaker body part.
FST7 Training – How To Use It In Your Routine
FST-7 is different than any other workout routine. Reason being is that FST-7 is not really a workout routine as such but more of an add on to your current routine. To use FST-7 in your current routine all you need to do is choose an exercise to perform at the very end of your workout routine and perform it for 7 sets.
This exercise should ideally be a machine or cable exercise but free weights can also be used as long as the exercise you perform is not a compound movement. Do not use a compound movement such as the bench press for your FST-7 exercise. Use an isolation exercise.
Perform this exercise at the very end of your workout for 7 sets of 8-12 reps. Whilst performing these 7 sets you will only be taking 30-45 seconds rest periods between your sets in order to pump as much blood into the muscle as possible. Don’t go heavy on this exercise but ensure the weight is challenging. You will need to lower the weight in order to get all 7 sets of 8-12 reps.
If you get to set 4 or 5 for example, and only manage 6 reps do not use the same weight for your remaining sets. Drop down in weight to try and stay in the 8-12 rep range. Next time you perform FST-7, learn from previous experiences and lower the weight in order to get all 7 sets of 8-12 reps using the same weight.
FST-7 Training works best when you are following a split workout routine. E.g. a routine that splits body parts up into specific days such as: Monday: Chest/Triceps, Wednesday: Back/Biceps, Friday: Legs/Shoulders/Traps. If you are currently following another routine such as Bill Starrs 5×5 then FST-7 should not be used. Follow the set guidelines for your current program in order to make the most gains off it.
Once you have some lifting experience behind you and have switched to a split workout routine, you can then consider adding FST-7 to your routine. To show you how FST-7 can be used in your routine below is a quick and easy example of incorporating FST-7 into your routine. In this example we will use chest as our muscle group to use FST-7 on:
- Incline barbell press 3 x 8-12
- Flat dumbbell press 3 x 8-12
- Incline dumbbell flyes 3 x 8-12
- Cable crossover 7 x 8-12 – FST-7 Exercise!
FST7 Training – The Rules
For FST-7 Training to be effective within your current routine you should follow the basic rules and principles of this program. These are all explained below.
Stretch. FST-7 requires you to stretch before your workout, during your normal sets, and after your workout to help trigger greater potential for muscle growth. Notice I said stretch during your normal sets. These are not your FST-7 sets that you will be performing at the end of your workout. You only need to stretch during your normal sets.
Perform the main heavy compound exercises first in your routine. Your main big heavy compound lifts should be performed first in your routine, ideally with less volume. E.g. 3 working sets of 8-10 reps. Isolation exercises should then follow your main compound lift before performing your FST-7 isolation exercise at the very end of your workout.
Perform 7 sets of 8-12 reps on your FST-7 exercise (final exercise). As mentioned earlier, drop the weight a little to give yourself the opportunity of performing all 7 sets within the 8-12 rep range. If you fall short of the rep range before the 7th set of your FST exercise drop the weight down slightly to get back into the 8-12 rep range for your next set.
It may take a week or two to find a comfortable but challenging weight to perform your 7 sets of 8-12 reps. If you misjudge it slightly in the first week or two of training simply drop down the weight for your remaining sets in order to hit the required rep range of 8-12.
30-45 seconds rest between sets. During your FST-7 sets you should only be taking 30-45 seconds of rest between your sets. The small rest periods are designed to pump and keep as much blood in the muscle as possible. Do not take long rest periods between sets like you would for your earlier compound exercises. 30-45 seconds of rest between sets only.
Flex between sets. Hany Rambod recommends you flex between sets when using FST-7. The idea behind flexing between sets is to further increase the amount of pressure on the fascia so that it can continue to reach its maximum state of expansion by the end of your 7 sets. Of course flexing in the mirror can seem vain and stupid to some people let alone embarrassing, but if it doesn’t bother you then do it.
If it does I’m sure you will not miss out on too much should you wish to ignore this rule. If you do flex try holding the flex position for 10 seconds at a time or more if it's not too uncomfortable.
Remember rest intervals are only small (30-45 seconds) so you won't be flexing for too long between sets anyway.
Drink water between your sets. As simple as this sounds, Hany Rambod explains this as a critical part of the FST-7 program. Sip on water between every set especially your FST-7 sets. To add more volume to the muscle we need water.
According to Hany Rambod water makes up the majority of your blood volume and therefore more volume in the muscle requires more water. Water also aids in the absorption of muscle building vitamins, minerals, amino acids and oxygen to the muscle.
FST7 Training Summary
FST-7 is a great add on to split routines and can really help trigger additional muscle growth within certain muscle groups. FST-7 can be used on practically any muscle group and can be even more effective when used on lagging body parts. FST-7 is best used when following a split workout routine so you do not mess with the rules of any current workout routines you may be following.