Properly Stretching to Avoid Injury with Active Isolated Flexibility: An Interview with Phil Wharton

philwhartonThe potential merits and dangers of stretching have been a hotly debated topic in running circles.

Research has shown that when you stretch, small microtears occur in your muscles that can often cause more harm than good.  However, we also know that flexibility is essential to staying injury-free and having a strong, powerful stride.

So, what’s the solution?

Phil Wharton, along with his father Jim, pioneered a standard known as Active Isolated Flexibility, or AIF, that delivers the benefits of stretching without the muscle damage.

The short version of AIF is that you need to dynamically stretch in order to achieve proper musculoskeletal balances that will allow you to stay healthier and train in a more consistent fashion for a longer period of time.

The long version? That’s going to be covered on this week’s show. Phil Wharton was a young runner when he developed a particularly bad–and painful–case of scoliosis (curvature of the spine). In his quest for correcting the problem, he and his father became musculoskeletal specialists and therapists with a “secret” to allowing the body to work on it’s own. By the way, Phil, through AIF, corrected his scoliosis and THEN was able to train himself to a 2:23 marathon personal best, too!

Here are some of the things we talked about:

  • The best practices of stretching.

  • How to use active isolated flexibility to avoid injury.

  • The role diet plays in your training, beyond your overall health.

  • How to deal with and heal an ever-irritating malady, such as plantar fasciitis.

If you’ve ever heard that stretching is bad, check out what Phil has to say! After listening, let us know how you plan to incorporate AIF into your training plan.

Watch this week’s show now