A couple weekends ago I had an opportunity to take the first 4-hour segment of a 16-hour course on Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) as part of the program for my massage school. If you aren’t familiar with AIS, it’s a specific stretching technique developed by Aaron Mattes that, as the name implies, serves to isolate specific muscles and stretch them for 1.5-2 seconds at a time, for multiple repetitions. The shorter holds are meant to avoid the body’s natural tendency to tense up, and to facilitate increased blood flow to the stretched muscle. The other important concept is that you’re supposed to “pull yourself into the stretch” by contracting the antagonist or opposing muscle to the one being stretched.
I had read Aaron’s book several years ago, and to be honest, didn’t really do a lot with it. I’m still not ready to drink the AIS Kool-Aid, as I think most stretching techniques can be effective when applied appropriately, but I’ve been using one of the stretches we learned in class, and another I fabricated based on AIS concepts. These are two great stretches for hockey players to help open up their hips, which should be a focus year-round.
We’ve been using these before our dynamic warm-up and after our training sessions with certain players. Give them a try and post your thoughts below!
To your success,
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Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.