Why You Should Resist and Assist Your Stretches

The type of “static” mobility Trinity Strength uses most often is called PAILs and RAILs.

I put static in quotations because although there is not much movement occurring during these drills there is a whole lot of effort and work occurring.

This exertion is one of the main reasons we love them so much. During PAILs and RAILs you not only drastically increase your flexibility, but you improve your strength in this new found range of motion.

When we begin a PAILs and RAILs we always start with a 2 minute passive stretch. Two minutes may seem like a long time, but research and experience clearly shows that our old school 20 second stretch essentially does nothing. You have to give your muscles enough time to relax and begin to elongate.

After this stretch the magic begins to happen. First come the PAILs. During this part you will resist the stretch you have been performing. If you were stretching your hamstring you now begin to flex it. Build up in resistance until you are resisting with all of your might.

Once you resist the stretch for 20 seconds you will begin to assist the stretch. This is the RAILs part of the exercise. Now flex the muscle opposite the stretched muscle while trying “pull” yourself into a deeper stretch. If you were stretching your hamstring now you will flex your quad while trying to move into the deepest stretch possible. Do this for 10 seconds. You should feel like you are getting much deeper in your range of motion.

With all 3 aspects of this mobility drill (long and effective stretch, max resistance, max assistance) you will create real change while building strength and raising your heart rate. Don’t settle for boring stretches. Challenge yourself in your mobility work as well!

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