Dr. Meisenhelder, Chiropractic Physician at Back In Motion Chiropractic & Sports Rehab in Beaverton, Oregon, demonstrates hip PAILs & RAILs.
PAILs (Progressive Angular Isometric Loading), and RAILs (Regressive Angular Isometric Loading), are fundamental exercises in the FRC (Functional Range Conditioning) "system" of therapeutic exercise and rehab. These drills take what we learned from the hip CARs (Controlled Articular Rotations) exercise in the last of the hip series and bring things a step further.
PAILs & RAILs are based on the most current scientific evidence and clinical practices, incorporating both traditional concepts and a few new twists. These exercises combine stretching with isometric loading, somewhat similar to classical PNF stretching, with the goal of improving joint range of motion and end-range stability. It is not good enough to simply attain new ranges of joint motion, one must have strength in that new range for it to be of any real benefit functionally, and to avoid injury.
So why the isometric contraction? Performing an isometric hold while in a stretched position tricks the central nervous system into thinking it is in a position that is safe - meaning beyond what your stretch receptors would normally allow you to attain. This allows the joint to achieve between 10-15% greater range of motion for free! So, as we work through this exercise, you can get greater and greater range gains.
Why the 2 minute hold? While we all wish that 30 seconds of stretching a joint will help us improve flexibility, the hard truth is that any gains will be temporary at best. The best evidence we have to date tells us that our cells are not even aware of the forces applied via the stretch until about the 2 minute point. And if you think about it, anyone with superior joint range (think of someone who can perform a split) spends hours and hours working on flexibility and stability, not just minutes a day. The take away is this: do the work and spend the time! There are no shortcuts here:)
PAILs and RAILs concepts can be applied to any joint in the body, and will be featured in future videos. If you have any questions on how to perform this specific exercise or how to apply this idea to another joint, please check with our incredible staff!
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