Why The Method I Implement Is Different

Blog post description.

8/11/20222 min read


ACTIVE ISOLATED STRETCHING (AIS): Also called the Aaron Mattes Method. It was developed by Aaron Mattes decades ago as an amazing way to reduce pain, increase flexibility, and improve performance while decreasing the chance of injury. The goal is to isolate the muscle that’s being stretched. Muscles are constantly working together, meaning that when one is being flexed, another is being stretched.

With most of my clients I’m treating TENSION- not PAIN!

  1. AIS movements are precisely targeted to stretch individual muscles and parts of muscles, rather than larger muscle groups. For example, instead of a simple hamstring stretch, AIS uses many different stretches to focus on combinations of the medial, lateral, oblique, proximal, and distal fibers. The hamstring moves in all different directions, just not straight up and down. The client assists with initiation of the stretch by contracting the muscle since contracting on one side of a joint causes the muscle on the opposite side to relax.

Also having the muscle actively working helps to increase the temperature of the muscles and fascia which enhances flexibility even further. Increase flexibility in increments: with each repetition the practitioner provides just enough assistance slightly beyond what the client could do on his own.
  1. Gentle Active Motion: to avoid injury it is important to use 50% or less of the max force for the muscles being stretched. This helps delay the stretch reflex, and prevents muscles from stretching too far or too fast.

  2. The stretch is held for 2-3 seconds only: holding a stretch for too long initiates the myotatic stretch reflex, decreases blood flow within the tissue, leads to a buildup of waste products ( such as lactic acid) that contributes to muscle fatigue and soreness. As a result, the tendons and ligaments get stretched more than muscles, which can lead to tendon irritation and even laxity. You are then predisposed for future injury

* Myotatic stretch reflex: when a muscle is stretched too far or too long it makes your muscles automatically recoil in about 3 sec to prevent a damaging and painful tear. When a muscle is held for 2-3 seconds, just before that reflex causes the muscle to recoil. Multiple repetitions: when static stretching ( a stretch that is held at a constant length) is performed the muscles eventually fatigue, release, and lengthen. However it is a slow process, AIS achieves results much more quickly by using 6-10 reps for shorter stretches.
This method can increase range of motion as much as 60 degrees in a short period of time. Deep breathing: helps to increase the flow of oxygen to the muscles, decrease fatigue, and encourage the release of muscle tension.
AIS helps develop health JOINTS as well. When greater tension on the fibers in a joint structure at multiple angles, the fibers of the joint itself are exercised and strengthened.
AIS creates a balance of muscular tone that leaves the joints stronger and more resilient. The gentle repetitive motion improves the circulation of blood and nutrients supporting the healthy growth and repair of all the surrounding tissues. As muscles become stronger and more flexible, they also become less vulnerable to injury.
Increased strength allows them to absorb a greater amount of force, and increased flexibility allows them to lengthen further.
AIS improves immune, lymph, and venous systems! AIS pumps the lymph and blood through the tissues. These systems require active muscle contraction to do their job if there is no activity in the muscle, fluid will build up and the tissue becomes stagnant- after sitting a long time.
AIS stretching pushes the fluid out of the area being stretched. After the stretch is released, the muscle relaxes and fluid rushes back in, delivering fresh blood and oxygen to reinvigorate and repair the tissues in the area.