View Full Version : Active Isolated Stretching

Derek Weaver
03-07-2011, 05:36 PM
I stopped doing the mobility wods on a regular basis cause they were a little too aggressive to be doing regularly. Namely, my hip flexors were so sore afterwards that I was having trouble doing lower body work. I still had some issues with tightness and shortening of some muscles that didn't seem to want to get better past a certain point.

Enter, AIS. There was an article on T Bag a couple weeks ago that was okay and showed a few stretches to do.

Anyway, about 6 weeks ago I got this manual from Barnes and Noble with a gift card I got back at Christmas. Here's the Amazon link (http://www.amazon.com/Active-Isolated-Stretching-Mattes-Spiral-bound/dp/B004APXDP0/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1299547593&sr=8-6) because I'm too lazy to go to Barnes and Noble's site, and amazon came up first on google. I didn't pay anywhere near $942 for it. I don't think it was more than $45.

Just passing it along. My calves are finally loosening and I feel pretty good. I still do JM stuff, and some other stretching, including Mobility Wod stuff 2-3x/week.

Steven Low
05-16-2011, 08:40 AM
Hmmm, I didn't know AIS was a system.

I usually do this form of stretching before my workouts, but the hold(s) were so brief instead of static stretching I just used to call it a short hold variant of dynamic stretching.

Is this patented or something?

Donald Lee
05-18-2011, 12:36 PM
I think Aaron Mattes came up with AIS, and then somebody else also came out with a book on AIS, which I think is when Aaron Mattes started calling it AIS: the Mattes Method.

I don't know about the whole patenting thing, but there are AIS CEUs that are taught.

So far, I am enjoying AIS much more than PNF. I have been looking all over for comparisons (adv/disadv) btwn AIS and PNF, but I haven't been able to find a thing.

Subjectively, it feels like AIS stretches the fascia moreso than PNF or static stretching. I've been looking more into stretching the fascia lately, so I'll update when I learn more.

It seems like one of the advantages of PNF is that it can strengthen end ROM, but Aaron Mattes also has an Active Isolated Strengthening protocol. I don't really know what the AIStrengthening entails yet though.

It is likely that I will start shadowing a physiatrist who uses a lot of AIS with his patients. The instructors at a recent AIS seminar I took at my massage therapy school said that they use about 80% AIS and 20% massage therapy in their practices, so there must be a lot more therapeutic and timely benefit from stretching than is generally recognized.

Steven Low
05-18-2011, 12:56 PM
There's always a benefit of mobilizing restrictions tbh

Derek Weaver
05-18-2011, 06:24 PM
I hadn't seen this response.

I feel like PNF is best in small doses, but I can get some sort of AIS or on the other side of the spectrum, longer duration and lower loaded stretching more often.

PNF as often as it was coming up made everything else not good. Some sort of a strategy involving all three may be a good idea, but I don't know where the balance is yet.

I'm guessing that something like 60-70% AIS, maybe 15-20% static and low intensity long duration stretching with the rest filled in by PNF perhaps before workouts may be quite effective. Still toying to see what will work best for me.

Mark Fenner
06-10-2011, 06:26 AM
Subjectively, it feels like AIS stretches the fascia moreso than PNF or static stretching. I've been looking more into stretching the fascia lately, so I'll update when I learn more.


You might want to look at Ming Chew's "The Permanent Pain Cure". The stretches in the book are very detailed (toes this way, ankle that way, leg direction over here, etc.) and are self-described as being "fascial stretches". Overall the book is definitely a B+ (or better) with a holistic bent to solving pain: tissue quality, water, diet, movement, strength.

Also of interest (I give this one an A) is a book by Craig Williamson called "Muscular Retraining for Pain-Free Living" (can you tell what's been on my mind?). This book is even more holistic (going to psychology, etc.) but it has GREAT drills for re-developing a kinesthetic sense of your core (ok, sure, core is a dirty word ... but what if it's the right word and the right problem?). Let me be less fluffy. The book taught me drills that I'm using to lessen my constant tension in my lumbar/sacral spinal erectors.

Incidentally, both books are cheap. I think you can get both on Amazon for like $25 total.


Donald Lee
06-10-2011, 11:46 AM

Incidentally, I recently purchased Ming Chew's book. I've only gotten through the first couple chapters though. When I have some time again, I'll look into reading that other book.