Active Isolated Stretching or AIS is a specialized technique that helps individuals maximize the effectiveness of muscle stretches without discomfort. It was developed over 30 years ago by Aaron Mattes, a registered Kinesiotherapist and massage therapist.
The technique uses four basic principles which can help both professional and amateur athletes as well as individuals recovering from injuries become more agile or recover quickly.
Isolate the muscle to be stretched.
In order to isolate the muscle group you are trying to stretch, you must contract the area that is opposite from it. For example, if you are trying to stretch your quadriceps muscle, you should actively contract your hamstring on the opposite side of your thigh. When this happens, your brain will signal the quadriceps muscle to relax allow you to get a deeper and more effective stretch.
Repeat the stretch
Repeating the stretch eight to ten times helps to increase the circulation of blood as well as the oxygenation of the muscles. In addition, it flushes toxins from the muscles and increases the flexibility of the desired area more effectively than basic stretch exercises.
Hold each stretch for no more than two seconds
By holding each stretch no more than two seconds you will avoid the activation of the stretch reflex. This reflex prevents the muscle from overstretching to prevent strains and tears in the fibers. Shorter stretching increases the muscle’s range of motion.
Exhale and inhale
Proper breathing helps to oxygenate the muscles. This is why it is important to exhale on the stretch and inhale on the release. This will help decrease (or eliminate) the production of lactic acid, thereby reducing muscle soreness.
The combination of AIS and strength work can help patients who are recovering from sports related injuries improve quicker while building strong and lean muscles. It is also a beneficial therapy to help relieve muscle soreness and spasms, and it has been shown effective in treating individuals who suffer from chronic pain.
At Benningfield Chiropractic, we use the AIS technique to help our patients increase range of motion, reduce pain and foster the healing process. We have been providing patients with gentle and effective chiropractic and other natural therapies in Peoria, Illinois and surrounding areas, for over 40 years. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.