Active Isolated Stretch
Barbara can take you through a routine of Active Isolated Stretching or teach you a routine that you will be able to use at home.
AIS (Active Isolated Stretching) is a specific stretching program developed by Aaron Mattes over 30 years ago. Mattes is a registered Kinesiotherapist and Licensed Massage Therapist who has dedicated his career to helping both professional and amateur athletes become more flexible and less injured. His technique uses four basic principles:
- First, the muscle to be stretched is isolated by actively contracting the opposite muscle. In other words, if you want to stretch the hamstrings, (the muscles on the back of the thigh) you must first actively contract the quadriceps (the muscles on the front of the thigh). The nervous system then sends a signal to the hamstrings to relax.
- Second, each stretch is performed eight to 8 to 10 times in order to increase the circulation of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the muscles being stretched. This technique will help you gain the most flexibility per session. The more nutrition a muscle can absorb and the more toxins it can release, the faster the muscle can recover.
- Third, each stretch is held for a maximum of two seconds in order to avoid the activation of the stretch reflex. The stretch reflex prevents a muscle or tendon from overstretching too far or too fast. This is our body’s natural protection against strains, sprains, and tears. By holding short-term stretches, we increase our range of motion with each repetition and eliminate any apprehension of painful stretching.
- Lastly, we exhale on the stretch and inhale on the release. Our body, including our muscles, need oxygen to function well. If our muscles are tight and sore, they are less powerful, more fatigued, and more prone to injury.