Saturday, May 26, 2012

If you think stretching is boring...

...then give this a whirl.

There's this dude.  Not "The Dude," but a dude in the massage and bodywork field, named Aaron Mattes.  Aaron Mattes developed a stretching modality called Active Isolated Stretching - The Mattes Method.  He cleverly takes one of the main concepts of stretching and turns it on its ear.  This is the concept of needing to hold a stretch for an extended time in order for it to be effective.  The Mattes Method is typically an assisted stretching method, involving a bodyworker (self-stretching is possible, however), and it calls for holding a stretch for no more than 1.5-2 seconds, but then to perform many repetitions of the stretch.

I still believe there is tremendous benefit in holding a stretch for 30+ seconds, but I also think that there is a logic in what Aaron has laid forth. However there are a couple critical details in making this an effective method of stretching.  So, don't think that you can just stretch for 2 seconds at a time and say that you're using the Mattes method and getting the maximum effectiveness of the technique.

In order to understand what makes the Mattes Method so effective, let's begin by looking at the name, Active Isolated Stretching: