What is Active Isolated Stretching?

Active Isolated StretchingActive Isolated Stretching is a full body stretching technique that provides fascial release. Aaron Mattes created it specifically as an athletic stretching technique, however, it is beneficial to everybody. Many of my clients are not athletes, but we have successfully used AIS to help stretch them and restore function to tight areas.

Although it does feel good to be stretched by someone else, it is not necessary. You can apply resistance yourself or use a strap to accomplish many of the AIS stretches.

Performing AIS Stretches

When you perform an Active Isolated Stretch, it should be for no longer than 2 seconds. This short duration allows the targeted muscles to lengthen without triggering the protective stretch reflex. Your body triggers the stretch reflex when it moves too deeply or stays too long in a stretch. In an attempt to save you from yourself, the muscles contract. This is the exact opposite of your goal, which is to lengthen the muscle.

Perform each stretch 8-12 times before moving on to the next stretch.


Active Isolated Stretching can help many common aches and pains. On his website, Aaron Mattes says Active Isolated Stretching techniques are effective in treating these conditions:

Personally, I have used it with my clients for other reasons:

  • help treat sciatica,
  • relieve tension headaches,
  • create more mobility for stiff joints,
  • maintaining mobility for a client with rheumatoid arthritis,
  • reduce plantar fasciitis, and
  • get rid of bunions.

Active Isolated Stretching Video

For some reason, there are only a few videos on Active Isolated Stretching. Therefore, I decided to make my own videos.

This video demonstrates how to use Active Isolated Stretching to stretch your neck. In the future, look for other Active Isolated Stretching Videos in the Weekend Workouts!

Did you try the neck stretches? If so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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Sarah Stockett is STOTT certified in Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Chair, & Barrels, Injuries & Special Populations, and CORE; a Yoga Alliance RYT-200; and has studied Active Isolated Stretching. When she is not trying to discover the best exercises to get rid of pain, she likes watching movies and travelling with her family.

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