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A Better Way to Loosen Up

There's a technique that can improve your flexibility in seconds, but to understand how it works, first try this exercise:

Curl your arm up without any weight and squeeze your biceps at the top. Now try to flex your triceps. The reason your triceps is mush in this position is because of a scientific principle known as "reciprocal inhibition." Reciprocal inhibition states that the muscle on one side of a joint must relax in order for the opposing muscle to contract, and it's the basis of a form of stretching that will change the way you look at flexibility. More important, it will change the way you feel.

Often times, people stretch one day only to feel just as tight the next. But with Active Isolated Stretching (AIS), you utilize reciprocal inhibition to not only loosen up the opposing muscle, but also to increase your range of motion. You won't stretch for 10 to 30 seconds, as you would with traditional stretch-and-hold stretches. Instead, by holding stretches for just a couple seconds, you'll increase your range of motion with each repetition.

By using a rope to assist with the stretch, you can increase your range of motion by 6 to 10 degrees more than without the rope. This is key because it helps reprogram your brain to remember this new range of motion. That way it can remind your muscles the next time you stretch or play or lift weights. Here's an active-isolated stretch to loosen those oft-tight hamstrings.

Tags: Injury Prevention, Tightness, Stretching, Elasticity, Flexibility, Stretch Rope, Reduce Pain, Hamstrings