Flexibility Mastery: Dive into PAILs and RAILs for Effective Stretching Success

Flexibility Mastery: Dive into PAILs and RAILs for Effective Stretching Success

Jun 20, 2024

Have you ever heard of PAILs and RAILs in the FRC system and wondered what they are all about? Let's dive into this powerful concept that can take your mobility training to the next level.

What are PAILs and RAILs?

PAILs, or Progressive Angular Isometric Loading, involves an isometric contraction of the tissues undergoing stretching or lengthening. Picture it as the ascending phase of a roller coaster, gradually increasing tension in your muscles from 10% effort to your maximum safe effort.

On the other hand, RAILs, or Regressive Angular Isometric Loading, entails an isometric contraction of the tissues being shortened. Think of it as the thrilling descent of the roller coaster, allowing you to use that tension you built up from your PAILs in a controlled manner.

For instance, think about a couch stretch where the quads and hip flexors get stretched progressively (lengthened tissues), while the hamstrings and other tissues on the back of the leg shorten (regressive tissues).  

Therefore, PAILs and RAILs exercises are created as a duo, addressing both sides of the joint, as muscles need to learn not only to lengthen but also to shorten.

Benefits of PAILs and RAILs

By incorporating PAILs and RAILs into your training routine, you can improve your strength, flexibility, and overall movement quality. These techniques help to increase your active range of motion, enhance muscle activation, and promote joint health.

How to Perform PAILs and RAILs

  1. Get into stretch position:

    • Start in a comfortable stretching position.
  2. Move into the stretch:

    • Gently reach as far as you can into the stretch.
  3. Hold the stretch:

    • Stay in the stretch for about 2 minutes.
  4. Adjust your body:

    • Change your position slightly to feel more tension.
  5. Take a deep breath:

    • Inhale deeply.
  6. Build tension (PAILs):

    • Gradually increase tension in the stretched area,
  7. Spread tension:

    • Let the tension spread to nearby areas.
  8. Breathe lightly:

    • Take shallow breaths while holding your muscles tight.
  9. Hold the squeeze:

    • Keep the tension for as long as you can.
  10. Relax:

    • Release the tension and lean a bit more into the 
  11. Contract and hold on the opposing side (RAILs) 

    • Keep the new position using the active contraction.
  12. Go back to a gentle stretch:

    • Return to a relaxed stretch.
  13. Repeat:

    • Do the whole process again as needed for your routine.

How Often Should You Do It?

It is recommended to incorporate PAILs and RAILs into your training routine 2-3 times per week. Start with a few sets of each exercise and gradually increase the intensity as you become more comfortable with the movements.

So, are you ready to take your fitness journey to the next level with PAILs and RAILs? Embrace the challenge, feel the burn, and unlock your full potential with these innovative techniques!


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