Shape Retention - Why you need (at least) two different routines

Shape Retention - Why you need (at least) two different routines

Let’s begin with a short re-cap about how penis enlargement works. There are two main mechanisms:

1 - Tunica Remodelling: Under sufficient traction, the collagen fibrils inside collagen fibres in the tunica albuginea slide over each other, breaking hydrogen bonds and then re-forming them in an extended configuration. There might also be a mechanism by which larger micro-tears are created, which then heal up. I think it is fair to say we don’t fully know whether micro-tears are necessary for growth, or whether the more gentle plastic deformation without full denaturing of collagen fibres is sufficient.


2 - Fibroblast Hyperplasia and Up-regulation of Collagen Synthesis:  Fibroblasts within the TA respond to mechanical stress through a process called mechanotransduction. This involves the transmission of force through integrin-based adhesion sites, triggering intracellular signalling cascades that ultimately lead to the production of growth factors such as TGF-β, FGFs, PDGF, and VEGF. These growth factors orchestrate a complex tissue remodeling process, promoting collagen synthesis, fibroblast proliferation, and even angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels) to support tissue growth and repair.

Between hard sessions of PE, the body needs time to perform these functions. Fibroblasts which have been triggered to divide need time to do so, and stem-cells need to be programmed to differentiate to make more fibroblasts (which are in fact a sub-category of stem cells called “mesenchymal stromal cells). Fibroblasts respond to the internal and external chemical cues, up-regulate genes for collagen production, and start churning out this coiled sticky protein to make more extracellular matrix. With time, PE will probably increase the density of fibroblasts in the tunica albuginea, and one of the several genetic factors for how quickly we respond to PE might just be that we have different amounts of fibroblasts there in the first place. 


When we do a hard session of PE, we get a strong growth stimulus and also accumulate something we call “fatigue”, which is just a new-fangled term for temporary plastic deformation. If we do several hard sessions in close succession, each one will lead to less and less additional fatigue, and approach the level where further deformation constitutes a greater risk of injury, and where much higher load would be needed to cause that deformation if we want to reach the target fatigue of 2% which we use as a rule-of-thumb for the lowest meaningful amount. There is a greater risk of developing fibrosis, and strength-adaptation of the tissue will develop quickly, if you go hard all the time. 

This is where rest and recovery is needed, to allow the cells in the tunica to do their work. A low level inflammation is triggered by a hard session, and that is important for cellular proliferation. But being inflamed all the time is not good - inflammation needs time to recede. 

But can we meaningfully optimise the recovery period between hard sessions, (which I will now transition to calling fatigue sessions)? I think the answer is an affirmative YES! 

After surgery on the Achilles tendon, patients are often immobilised in a dorsiflexed position to promote proper healing and prevent shortening of the tendon. Holding the tendon at the desired length we want it to reach without strain, for a prolonged period of time, allows it to adapt to, and heal in, that configuration. Which brings us to the concept of shape retention. 

Shape Retention: Maintaining the Gains

The concept of shape retention hinges on the principle that the tunica albuginea, like other fascial tissues, possesses "shape memory." This means that it adapts to the shape it is held in most frequently. By applying consistent, low-intensity tension to the TA, we can encourage the collagen fibres to maintain an elongated configuration, effectively "locking in" gains achieved during high-intensity PE sessions - the fatigue sessions.

But how? 

That, of course, is the relevant question. We would ideally like to blow up our penis in a vacuum pump for the entire duration of time between the fatigue sessions. But that’s not healthy. Vacuum causes edema and would cause circulatory issues even if done at very modest negative pressures, if we were to use it for multiple hours. Just look at the fetish pumpers on reddit's r/pumping. 



Clamping is also out of the question, since even modest blood flow restriction could cause hypoxia or issues with the blood and lymph vessels, such as blood clots, formation of varicose veins, lymphangiosclerosis, etc. It’s conceivable it’s possible to use some form of all day silicone sleeve for maintaining a certain length for a longer period, but I do not think clamping at the base sufficiently hard to maintain an engorged penis such that it would be effective for shape retention for girthwork is possible to do in a healthy manner. 



For lengthwork - a silicone sleeve worn for multiple hours (with frequent breaks to restore full circulation), or wearing some form of all-day extender (also with frequent breaks), are probably great forms of shape retention. I have seen many veterans attributing their length gains to all-day silicone sleeves - for instance DrChemDong, but also several other users on Thunder’s Place. Recently, I’ve heard two veterans and gurus from Getting Bigger - BD and Perv - allude to something similar I think (though they are very secretive - perhaps because of a patent process?). Importantly, I think it matters that the tension used be very low. It should not cause accumulation of fatigue or further micro-damage to the tunica - it should just be sufficient to keep it at the length it “fatigued to” during the fatigue session. 



For girthwork, I believe frequent feeder sets of pumping are the way to go. You do one full hard fatigue session with interval pumping and clamping to cause massive expansion, and then for the next 47 hours you try to get in at least three pumping sessions of much lower intensity and duration. Dr Hinklebry and myself have, independently of each other, been doing PE sessions twice daily. He does manuals and pumps, I do only clamping and pumping. One or two times per week, I do a longer and more intensive session - currently utilising my Python Pro clamp along with a vacuum pump to do what I call pump-assisted clamping, but before that I was just doing regular interval pumping along with clamping with silicone toe shields. Between these intensive fatigue sessions, I do much less intense sessions where I use slightly lower pressures and sometimes very low pressure “milking” with a breast pump (I have posted a couple of short videos on redgifs of how that looks - to see gifs, go to and add watch/vibrantvillainoussparrow at the end of the url)



These lower intensity sessions, which I call “feeder sessions”, serve to remind my penis that I want it to take on this more engorged and elongated proportion. It’s similar to how a physiotherapist might help a person give a stubborn tendon or ligament a very intense treatment with heat and stretching, and then the client is instructed to go home and do less intense stretching one or more times per day before their next visit and another intensive treatment. I only have a layman’s understanding of that process, and hope PervMcSwerve will do a video or post about it, because I think we can learn from it - PE is just a form of penile physiotherapy and stretching, after all. 



The important aspect of these feeder sessions is that they should be of low intensity. It’s incredibly tempting to use a lot of pressure. The stretch feels so darn good - at least it does to me (I’m getting weird about pumping, as I have said before). Also, we might suffer from the “more is more” fallacy (phallosy?), as in the old PE forums: More weight, more time, more pressure = more better. That’s simply not the case. It’s a recipe for injury and rapid strength adaptation, and even fibrosis. 



No, one hard fatigue session, and then multiple much gentler sessions to remind your penis of the shape it needs to be, to get shape retention. An exact protocol for how often to pump and clamp hard for fatigue and how often to pump for shape retention, you ask? No, I don’t think anyone knows a good answer to that. I bet we have individual differences in healing response time, and that some people can get away with going hard every 36 hours whereas others might need 72 or 96 hours between hard sessions to recover. It would also depend on the nature of the fatigue work you do, as well as the intensity, I presume. Lenghtwork and girthwork might be different. My own approach is to do no more than two hard fatigue sessions per week, and no more than two or three “medium” fatigue sessions, whereas the total number of sessions is usually 12 per week. I do pumping and usually clamping also AM and PM six days per week. I will provide no clearer protocol than that, and urge people to do plenty of self-experimentation and to log their process. 



This is the reason for the title: Why you need at least two different routines. You need one intensive fatigue routine, and you need one routine for shape retention. 



In a podcast the other day, Perv and BD discussed ideas about retention at length: 

(It starts around the 36 minute mark)

In no way do I claim these ideas as my own - they are neither mine nor anything new in the world. People have been doing feeder sets in the gym forever (for other reasons), and stretching as a part of physiotherapy goes back for millennia. All-day extenders and stretchers have been part of PE for decades. Not to mention the weight-hanging that indigenous people have done - probably also for millennia. 

When I got into PE about half a year ago, I wrote off all-day extenders as pointless because I thought they used insufficient force. Which is correct - they are in fact insufficient to give meaningful rapid gains on their own - but they might just be a good complement to high-tension extending, hanging or manuals. The same with silicone sleeves and other gentle low-tension traction. 

I’m super curious to hear BD’s and Perv’s takes on shape retention when Massive Novelties release their upcoming product which will purportedly revolutionise PE - hopefully it will be just another couple of weeks before we get to watch their videos. 

Over and out - back to pulling on your junk, folks! 

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