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What is active-isolated stretching?

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. There are several ways of learning about Active Isolated Stretching (AIS).

Performing an Active Isolated Stretch of no longer than 2.0 seconds allows the target muscles to optimally lengthen without triggering the protective stretch reflex and subsequent reciprocal antagonistic muscle contraction as the isolated muscle achieves a state of relaxation.  These stretches provide maximum benefit and can be accomplished without opposing tension or resulting trauma.
Active-isolated stretching involves the contraction of the opposing muscle(s) in order to increase the length of the stretched muscle. An example would be flexing the front of your thigh (the quadriceps) in order to stretch through the back of your thigh (the hamstring muscles). You don't hold active stretches for a long period of time (typical holds are 5-10 seconds).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.