What is Active Isolated Stretching (AIS)?

The Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) method is a stretching technique that provides an effective, dynamic facilitated stretching of major muscle groups. More importantly, AIS provides functional and physiological restoration of superficial and deep fascial planes.

Over the past few decades, many experts have advocated that stretching should last up to 60 seconds. For years, this prolonged static stretching technique was the gold standard. However, prolonged static stretching actually decreases the blood flow within the tissues, which creates localized ischemia and lactic acid buildup. This can potentially cause irritation or injury to local muscular, tendinous, lymphatic, and neural tissues (similar to the effects and consequences of trauma and overuse syndromes).

Aaron Mattes’ AIS Technique effectively promotes deep and superficial fascial release, which thereby restores proper movement of fascial planes, thereby allowing for optimal physiological function. Performing an Active Isolated Stretch for no longer than 2.0 seconds allows the target muscles to optimally lengthen, without triggering the protective stretch reflex. The subsequent reciprocal antagonistic muscle contraction allows the targeted muscle to achieve a maximum state of relaxation.

The Aaron Mattes AIS Method achieves superior myofascial release and optimal flexibility through the active contraction of an agonist muscle, which in turn reciprocally inhibits the antagonist muscle. Using a 2.0 second stretch has proven to be the key in avoiding a reflexive guarding contraction of the targeted antagonistic muscle.