AIS Stretching Session
Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) is one of the methods of stretching most used by today’s athletes, massage therapists, personal/athletic trainers, and professionals. Active Isolated Stretching allows the body to repair itself and also to prepare for daily activity.
The Active Isolated Stretching technique involves the method of holding each stretch for only two seconds. This method of stretching is also known to work with the body’s natural physiological makeup to improve circulation and increase the elasticity of muscle joints and fascia.
Active: You actively contract the muscles that perform the opposite movement to the muscle(s) you want to stretch. This creates a neurological response called reciprocal inhibition where the nervous system will inhibit contraction of the target muscle. The result of this will be further relaxation of the target muscle and improved response to stretching.
Isolated: You position your body in a very specific way to isolate a single muscle or even part of a muscle to make the stretch most effective. Stretching: You provide a 2 second stretch to the muscle and repeat this stretch 10-15 times.
By contracting the opposing muscle, AIS triggers a nervous system response called Reciprocal Inhibition that forces the target muscle to relax. For example, if you contract your biceps muscle (front of your arm), your triceps (back of arm) must relax in order for any movement to occur. In addition, EMG studies have shown a stretched muscle will reflexively contract after 3 seconds, because stretch receptors within the muscle will think it is in danger of being overstretched and injured. By using the two-second stretch, AIS affects the muscle before this protective stretch reflex can be triggered.