Does Flexing Build Muscle? 7 Benefits of Muscle Flexing

For as long as we can remember, muscle flexing has just been an act of checking out our gains after a hard day’s work at the gym.

But that is no longer the case.

Many people believe that there is more to flexing your muscles. A common piece of advice that you would receive at the gym is always to contract your abdominal muscles while you are sitting down. People claim that doing so can help your chances of getting six-pack abs.

If that is the case, an interesting question arises. Can flexing help you build muscle? Different people have different opinions. But we have the right answer for you.

Let’s find out.

Does Flexing Build Muscle?

Does Flexing Build Muscle

Yes, and no. Flexing involves contracting your muscles and holding the contraction to create more tension. Doing so may help you improve muscle strength and endurance and might potentially trigger muscle growth in your body.

However, the act of flexing muscles is severely limited in terms of how much they can stimulate your muscles to grow and increase in size. So, if hypertrophy is your goal, flexing should only be used as an accessory to dynamic movements and resistance-based training.

So, while muscle flexing cannot act as a substitute for weight-based training, doing so frequently can definitely make your muscles stronger and perhaps a bit larger. There have been several studies to support this statement.

How Does Flexing Build Muscle?

We already know that muscle flexing involves contracting your muscles and then holding them at the end range for maximum tension. This movement is also referred to as an isometric contraction.

There are multiple isometric exercises that we regularly perform for building muscle and core strength, such as planks, wall sits, and low squats.

According to research, they are not as good for building muscle as concentric and eccentric training. However, still promote muscle growth to some extent, especially in the case of beginners with no weightlifting experience.

Does Flexing Burn Calories?

Does Flexing Burn Calories

Yes, flexing can help you burn some calories. But it will not be enough to help you realize your weight loss goals.

So, muscle flexing is not the most efficient method of losing calories. Instead, you should try other forms of workouts like running, cycling, swimming, and high-intensity interval training.

When you’re in a flexing position, your muscles are tensing up and doing some amount of work, even if there is no movement. So, you’re bound to burn some amount of calories. But it’s not enough to make any significant difference to your lifestyle.

Can Flexing Give You a Pump?

The Pump is a popular term thrown loosely around the gym. It is essentially the process during an exercise where the activated muscles are supplied with increased blood flow to provide them with excess oxygen and nutrients.

As a result, your muscles become temporarily enlarged when you get a pump.

So, can flexing your muscles give you a pump? The short answer is yes; muscle flexing does give you a pump to some degree.

When you flex a muscle, you are essentially activating muscle fibers. Doing so will compel the bloodstream to rush into the muscle and supply it with excess nutrients and oxygen required for completing the movement effectively.

Ultimately, the muscles will look fuller and more vascular. Therefore, you can get a slight muscle pump simply by flexing.

Is it Good to Flex After a Workout?

Is it Good to Flex After a Workout

Flexing after completing your workout is a common gym activity. And yes, it might even be beneficial for your gains and fitness goals.

Legendary bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger are known for flexing their muscles in between different sets. But is there any scientific finding to support their actions? Fortunately, there is.

Flexing your muscles immediately after a workout can be beneficial for your overall muscular gains. When you finish training, your muscles are basically depleted but engorged with blood (a phenomenon called muscle pump).

If, at this stage, you squeeze and flex them repeatedly, you will press and exhaust your muscles to their absolute max. Many experts believe that this is a great way to close off a hard day at the gym, as doing so ensures that you’ve used every last drop of strength you had in your body.

Do note, however, that flexing hours after a workout, or even 30 minutes later, will not yield similar results.

In fact, it’s more beneficial to stimulate your muscles by flexing them in between different sets. In this case, you are essentially training and engaging your muscles (without weights or dynamic movements) between two sets and then continuing with other exercises.

Doing so will exhaust your muscles even more and push them to their limits, resulting in greater hypertrophy yields.

So, flexing can be an excellent tool and a useful accessory for building muscle. There are no possible negative outcomes of muscle flexing, so it won’t hurt to try.

Can Flexing Alone Build Muscle?

Flexing alone cannot provide enough stimulation to help you build muscle, especially if you are a seasoned weightlifter. Even newbies won’t see a lot of results if they try to replace traditional weight-based workouts with just muscle flexing.

This limitation is because flexing is a sort of isometric contraction that does not involve any kind of movement. So, the muscles remain in the same position throughout the exercise. There is no range of motion involved.  What happens in this case? The muscles being worked on become stronger only in a single position instead of being strengthened throughout the entire range of motion.

So, these exercises (focused on muscle flexing) are good for establishing mind-muscle connections or improving mobility and stability but not stimulating enough if you are focused on hypertrophy. That’s because they simply cannot strengthen all the muscle fibers in the engaged muscles equally due to the lack of a rigid range of motion.

The bottom line is that while muscle flexing can be a good activity for beginners to get into the fitness groove, it certainly won’t help experienced weightlifters build muscles further than they already have. So, it should be treated as an accessory to resistance-based training.

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7 Benefits of Muscle Flexing

Benefits of Muscle Flexing

There are numerous benefits to flexing your muscles. Apart from making you look great, doing so can also help you with the following:

It Strengthens Muscles

Flexing basically tenses your muscle fibers. Basically, the small movement allows you to generate muscle tension.

So, your muscles are doing some hard work while you are squeezing them for maximum contraction.

Over time, doing this kind of work for longer durations can improve muscle strength and might even help you build some muscle.

It Improves the Contracting Ability

According to research, the simple act of flexing your muscles can help you improve your muscle contraction ability by a significant margin.

With improved contraction ability, individuals can perform exercises efficiently by achieving optimum levels of muscle activation, which plays an important role in hypertrophy.

Essentially, with improved contraction, your workouts will be more effective after a certain while.

It Improves Posture

Many isometric exercises like planks, side planks, reverse planks, and ab flexing fall under the category of muscle flexing.

Performing these exercises can help you strengthen your core, abdominal, and lower back muscles. The stronger these supportive muscles are, the better your chances of maintaining healthy spinal alignment and good posture for long hours.

It Helps in Rehabilitation Following Injuries

If you have sustained a serious injury like an ACL or a torn meniscus, you will be barred from using the joint through the normal range of motion for quite a while.

This could severely limit the functionality of the affected muscles over long durations. In such a case, performing isometric flexing movements can be beneficial as they will provide mobility and increase strength in areas and joints surrounding the injured region.

It Reduces Blood Pressure

Many medical experts suggest multiple isometric exercises for patients suffering from high blood pressure.

Many of these exercises that involve flexing your muscles have proven to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Increases Tendon Stiffness

Many studies indicate that performing isometric contractions for long durations can significantly improve tendon stiffness.

This is beneficial for muscular health in many ways. In sports performance, for example, tendon stiffness can help muscles store and release more elastic energy. So, athletes with stiffer tendons have the capability of generating more power and speed while performing complicated movements.

Builds Mind-Muscle Connection

While performing flexing movements, we are required to concentrate on some very specific voluntary contractions.

As such, flexing muscles is often shown to build the coveted mind-muscle connection that you need to perform certain exercises efficiently.

This allows individuals to focus on the targeted muscles while exercising and ensures that they attain the maximum range of motion for optimal results.

So, the simple act of flexing one’s muscles can help them significantly improve their proprioception.

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Parting Words

At first glance, flexing is a simple act of pumping one’s muscles up to check out their gains.

However, recent studies have shown that it is so much more than that. There are endless benefits to performing isometric flexing movements.

However, muscle flexing alone should not be the cornerstone of your workout program if hypertrophy is your goal. While isometric exercises are efficient in their own way, they do not provide enough stimulus to actually build muscle to a respectable degree.