Are you looking for a new way to stay healthy and run more consistently?
Well, I’ve got something you’re going to love.
Today Jay Johnson is going to highlight active isolated flexibility and give away two free DVD’s to one lucky reader.
Jay is a Running Times and Nike contributor who has coached three US champions over the years. He also produces the Building a Better Runner and Wharton Exercises DVD’s at RunningDVDs.com.
Check out the trailer for what he has for you:
Take it away Jay!
Active Isolated Flexibility: Stretching in the 21st Century
Want to run faster? Active Isolated Flexibility can help you.
If someone asked me how to run faster, of course I’d say “develop the aerobic metabolism” and “run a weekly long run.”
But I’d also say “include Active Isolated Flexibility every day.” I learned about Active Isolated Flexibility (AIF) from Phil Wharton, who has worked with recreational runners and Olympic Medalists like Shalane Flanagan, Bernard Lagat, and Mo Farah.
AIF is pretty simple. Because all muscles work in pairs the best way to lengthen a tight muscle is to contract the opposing muscle. So if you have tight hamstrings – and who doesn’t – then you would contract the quadriceps. This work is done in a dynamic fashion, with the majority of the exercises using a rope.
AIF is a form of dynamic flexibility – you’re working through your natural range of motion to relax and lengthen tight muscles. AIF is not static stretching. As this NY Times article points out: “We can now say for sure that static stretching alone is not recommended as an appropriate form of warm-up.”
Athletes who commit to AIF for a few weeks will feel like new runners – AIF corrects imbalances and asymmetries that afflict virtually all runners.
As you can see in the picture below, the rope is wrapped around the foot to help assist with the lengthening of the hamstring. In this picture Phil Wharton is not only contracting his quadriceps as he comes into position, but he’s also breathing out at the same time.
The breathing component is extremely helpful to help you focus on the flexibility work (and for me personally it’s easier to concentrate on breathing doing AIF than yoga). But while it all looks easy, you need someone to guide you. After spending hours and hours editing the video, I can tell you that having Phil talk you through the routines is extremely helpful when you’re learning.
AIF and Injury Treatment
I want to share three quick examples of world class athletes using AIF to come back from injury.
After Khalid Khannouchi was shut down with a hamstring injury for a year after setting the World Record in the marathon, he incorporated AIF and strengthening programs into his training and returned to break his own World Record.
Suffering from a pelvic stress fracture during the 2008 US Olympic Marathon Trials, Meb Keflezighi (2004 Olympic Silver Medalist) focused on the basic work in the Flexibility for Runners DVD and returned to win the New York City Marathon in 2009 and finish fourth in the 2012 Olympics
When Moses Tanui, two-time Boston Marathon Champion, returned from a hip issue and ran the fastest marathon ever by a Kenyan at the time, the difference was the addition of the flexibility work in the Flexibility for Runners DVD.
Those are the famous runners who AIF has helped, but there are hundreds of runners who have benefited from it.
If you commit to the AIF work, then after a few weeks you can start the strengthening exercises in the Strengthening for Runners DVD (we’re giving away both DVD’s so you’ll have both).
What is unique about the Wharton Strengthening for Runners DVD is that the focus is on minor muscles that tend to be neglected by most strengthening programs. Both sets work together to provide the foundation of athleticism that helps keep you injury-free.
This type of ancillary work is a must for the runner who knows that staying injury-free leads to consistency – and knows that consistency leads to PRs.
The Giveaway Details!
Jay has graciously offered to give both copies of the Active Isolated Flexibility DVDs to the winner. You’ll get:
- Wharton Exercises for Runners: Flexibility
- Wharton Exercises for Runners: Strength
All of the videos were shot in HD and you can put them on your phone, tablet, or computer.
Here’s how to enter:
- Get on my email list here or in the box at the end of this article. Only email readers are eligible
- Answer this question in the comments: “How would your running change if you could stay injury-free?“
- Leave your answer by Thursday, 4/18 at midnight
- I’ll randomly select the winner on Friday morning
Unfortunately, we can’t give away thousands of free DVDs (how cool would that be though?!) so we’re going to do the next best thing: after the contest, I’ll send you a 20% discount on anything at RunningDVDs.com.
You’ll be able to use the discount code for both the Building a Better Runner and the AIF DVDs. I’m so confident that these will help you prevent injuries and run more consistently that I want to make it as accessible as possible.
The code will be emailed to Strength Running subscribers so make sure you get on the list here or in the box below.
A big thank you to Jay Johnson for partnering with SR to make this giveaway possible!
Note: This giveaway is now over.