Many, many clients come in with problems that stretching can relieve. For several years, I’ve advocated a type of stretching called Active Isolated Stretching where the muscle is stretched for only 2-3 seconds, but the stretch is repeated anywhere from 10-30+ times.
Yesterday, NPR had a story that talked about a study that found that static stretching (putting the body into a stretch and holding it for 30s to a few minutes) didn’t prevent injury, and in some cases, seemed connected to a slightly higher injury rate.
A coach interviewed talked about a different kind of stretch – Active Isolated Stretching – that I’ve been advocating to clients for years. Targeted stretched for single muscles groups for a very short duration repeated many times. This has slowly gained popularity among athletes, coaches and other fitness experts.
“The best way to think of it is probably flexibility exercises,” he says. Rather than “bend and hold,” Sherry’s method emphasizes a more gentle cycle of 2- to 3-second stretches — and lots of repetitions.
Check out the article. There’s a video on the page as well that demonstrates it. So next time you go to do a stretch, don’t do stretch and hold, do stretch and release – and increase the repetitions. (You can google AIS, Wharton Stretching or Aaron Mattes for more information on the technique.)