Active-Isolated Stretching for Injury Prevention

Active-Isolated Stretching for Injury Prevention

📅April 29th, 2015, 12:30

To stretch or not to stretch…that is the question. There are many conflicting opinions on this subject, but stretching appropriately can lead to healthier muscle tissue and joints and help with injury prevention.

Even though prolonged static stretching has been the standard method advocated by many experts for years, stretching for up to 30 to 60 seconds has recently been found to possibly do more harm than good. This type of stretching can actually decrease blood flow and cause micro-tearing in the muscles which can make the tissue more susceptible to injury and soreness. Luckily, Active-Isolated Stretching avoids all that!

By only holding the stretch for 1 to 2 seconds, Active-Isolated Stretching (AIS) lengthens the muscles and fascia without engaging the body’s protective response, the myotatic reflex, which is where the muscles contract as a protective mechanism to keep the muscle from over stretching (which can result in the micro-trauma mentioned above). AIS is a safe and effective way to increase range of motion (ROM) and functional mobility, encouraging better engagement and active use of muscles.

Our Recharge co-owner Austin Baillie demonstrates in this video how to use AIS to safely stretch the hamstrings and help them stay injury free!

The key components to AIS:

  • Activate the opposing muscle groups to the muscles being stretched (example: activate the quads when stretching the hamstrings)
  • Only use the rope for a gentle assist at the end range of the stretch
  • Hold the stretch for only 1-2 seconds each time at the end range
  • Perform between 6-10 repetitions for each stretch on each leg

Incorporate this type stretching into to your routine as often as possible…daily if you can! Active-Isolated Stretching is especially important before intense training to make sure the muscles are loose and activating properly, as well as after a long endurance workout where muscles become stiff and less flexible. We even keep a stretch rope by our beds to do a quick 5 mins of AIS before bed to aid recovery! Join us for our next AIS Workshop to learn more AIS stretching routines as well as how to incorporate this type of stretching into your regular training schedule.