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Trainer Q&A: It’s a Stretch

Trainer Q&A: It’s a Stretch


People who exercise regularly know very well that stretching is vital when working out. It reduces the chances of injury and will help their overall performance. In this blog we previously talked about Dynamic Stretches vs. Static Stretches.

For this month’s Q&A, it’s all about Active Isolated Stretch Therapy (AIS). We sat down and discussed it with our resident expert – Will Thompson, a certified AIS Therapist and the Fitness Director of Merritt Clubs White Marsh

How long have you been a trainer and what do you specialize in?

I’ve been a trainer for 14 years. I specialize in Active Isolated Stretch Therapy. I am a Russian Kettlebell instructor and I’ve been a Functional Movement Screen Specialist for about 8 years.

NASM-CPT Corrective Exercise specialist , Certified Speed and Agility Performance Coach.

IMG_6605Assisted Calf Stretch

What is Active Isolated Stretch Therapy?

Active Isolated Stretch Therapy is a protocol that was created maybe 50 years ago for injured athletes. It is a very gentle and simplistic stretch method in the application.

The idea of the method is to stretch any muscle from origin to insertion. We do not want to create negative tissue memory. You should feel contractions of the active muscle.

IMG_6992Shoulder HyperExtension Palm Outward

You will feel the stretch sensation but it shouldn’t be so strong that you would describe it as pain. Some describe it as a feeling of light irritation. The more you actively engage the moving muscle the more comfortable the stretch will be.

It allows fresh blood to get into the muscle tissue from origin to insertion.

How is this stretching method different from others?

In AIS we use a rope or a strap (while maintaining the active involvement). We ease into stretches actively by 1-2 degrees only and hold for 2 seconds but we do 10 repetitions.

This method allows fresh blood to get into the muscle tissue from origin to insertion.

IMG_6428Assisted Quad Stretch

What are the benefits?

Greater mobility, greater workouts, life longevity, less injury, being more in tune with your body, having a lot more body awareness, and just feeling great. Feeling flexible, feeling limber, feeling like you can do anything… it’s awesome.

IMG_6580Assisted Hip Flexor

If you want to know more about Active Isolated Stretch Therapy, or would like to schedule a session with Will, email him at or call Merritt Clubs White Marsh at 410-773-9007.