We all know exercise is an important step toward living a dynamic life and maintaining a healthy body free of injury and disease. The beauty of stretching is that it lowers your chance of injury and allows the body to maximize all the benefits of your workout. InMotion understands the impact that adding stretching to your fitness regiment greatly affects these areas. Active Isolated Stretching, or AIS, goes beyond simple stretching to maximize your stretching benefits.
ACTIVE ISOLATED STRETCHING DEFINED
Also known as the Mattes Method, Active Isolated Stretching was developed by Aaron L. Mattes. The goal of this targeted method of stretching included reducing pain, increasing flexibility, and improving performance while simultaneously reducing the chance of injury. AIS also restores deep and superficial fascial planes.
The AIS technique concentrates on reciprocal innervation of muscle tissue. The focus is to hold a stretch for around two seconds and then returning to the resting position. Outside of AIS, stretches can be held for 30 or even 60 seconds. The reason for the short duration of stretching is due to the myotatic reflex.
THE MYOTATIC REFLEX
Muscles have an inherent reflex, called the myotatic reflex or the stretch reflex, to automatically recoil to prevent damaging or painful tears. The myotatic reflex is activated when a muscle is stretched too long. The muscles instinct is to recoil after three seconds. The beauty of AIS Stretching is that you are only holding stretches for two seconds, before the myotatic reflex activates.
THE AIS STRETCH DECONSTRUCTED
To get receive the full benefit of the AIS experience, it’s important to adhere to a four-step approach, regardless of the stretch being performed:
Isolate the Muscle Being Stretched
The AIS Stretch approach is to isolate the muscle that’s being stretched. Muscles work cohesively as a group, meaning that when one is being flexed, another is being stretched. InMotion Stretch Specialists know how to target the muscles to maximize this important aspect.
Timing is Everything: Holding the Stretch for 2 Seconds
This is the primary difference when comparing AIS Stretching to traditional stretching. With AIS, it’s only two seconds versus the traditional 60 seconds or more. This is done with the intention to avoid activating the myotatic reflex.
Repetition is Key
After the stretch is held for two seconds, we’ll reset and complete nine additional passes. In total, 10 repetitions are completed for each stretch, for a total of 20 seconds of stretching. This is also important to maximize circulation throughout the body.