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PAILS / RAILS (Progressive and Regressive Angular Isometric Loads)
PAILs and RAILs are our primary tool to gain range of motion. They are very difficult to perform, you should be working up to an 8/10 max contraction, and therefore we need to do them when we feel ‘fresh’. Your program includes PAILs / RAILs for specific joints, but you are supposed to find positions of tension or stiffness! That is, find stiffness in that range and attack it. If you don’t find it, play around with your limbs until you do. THIS IS A KEY PRINCIPLE.
Tension is the most important concept behind FRC™ stretching procedure. Ensure that for PAILs stretch procedures you build up the tension (PAILs contraction) in a slow, but progressive rate (ramping up contraction). Because the contracting tissues are in an elongated position, ramping up the tension too quickly will result in injury.
a. Assume stretch position b. Actively move into the stretch range then passively maintain position for a period of approx 2 minutes Alter angles of stretch to maximize tension c. Inhale d. Gradually build tension in the stretched tissues as you trap your air in the lower abdominal region e. As contraction heightens, allow it to spread to neighboring tissues and eventually to all contractile body tissue (Law Irradiation) f. Breath shallow whilst holding an abdominal brace contraction g. Hold contraction for as long as possible h. As you relax, ACTIVELY increase stretch depth/intensity using a RAILs contraction i. Hold newly acquired position for as long as possible using the active RAILs contraction j. Re-establish passive hold k. REPEAT

Hip Capsule 90/90 Stretch (internal rotation)

Targets: Hip capsule While seated, position the lead leg out in front of you such that the thigh is facing directly forward. Bend the lead knee, and ankle to 90 degrees. Position the trail leg out to the side such that the thigh is parallel to the torso. Bend the trail knee and ankle to 90 degrees. Grab the trail leg ankle.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Laterally bend towards the trail ankle
  • PAILs – press the trail leg (ankle to knee) into the floor
  • RAILs – Laterally bend towards the trail leg increasing internal rotation of the trail hip

Alternate Stretch: Hip Capsule Sleeper Stretch

Hip Capsule – 90/90 Stretch (external rotation)

Targets: Hip capsule, Gluteus Minimus While seated, position the lead leg out in front of you such that the thigh is facing directly forward. Bend the lead knee, and ankle to 90 degrees. Position the trail leg out to the side such that the thigh is parallel to the torso. Bend the trail knee and ankle to 90 degrees. Nutate the sacrum and increase the lumbar lordosis so to come up onto the Ishial Tuberosity of the lead leg.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Keeping the chest perpendicular to the floor, lean forward towards the lead leg
  • PAILs – press the lead leg (ankle to knee) into the floor
  • RAILs – Sacral nutation

Alternate Stretch: Hip Capsule Seated 90/90 

Hip Capsule – Sleeper Stretch

Target: Hip capsule While seated, bend the knees to 90 degrees and separate the legs. While keeping the torso facing forward internally rotate one hip while maintaining 90 degree angles of the ankle and knee. Place the ipsilateral hand on the lateral portion of the knee.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Press the hand into the lateral knee forcing it towards the floor (hip internal rotation)
  • PAILs – external hip rotation into your hand
  • RAILs – internal hip rotation approximating the medial aspect of the knee to the floor

Hip One Joint Pigeon

Target: Short external rotators (Piriformis, Gemelli, Obturator Internus) Assume a kneeling quadruped position. Externally rotate lead leg approximating the anterior ankle to the contra-lateral wrist (the closer the ankle is to the wrist the more intense the stretch). Slide the trail leg posteriorly approximating the anterior thigh to the floor.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Lower the chest to the floor whilst maintaing a lumbar lordotic curve (chest forward)
  • PAILs – Abduction of the lead leg (ankle to knee) compressing it into the floor
  • RAILs – Lead hip flexion, and sacral nutation increasing the lumbar lordosis

Alternate Stretch: Hip Capsule Stretch Seated 90/90

Hip One Joint Bear Sit

Target: Short Adductors (longus, brevis), Adductor Magnus (adductor portion) From a seated position, bend the knees to 90 degrees, and then abduct/externally rotate the hips such that the thighs are parallel to the torso.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Use the elbows to apply inferior pressure on the medial thigh approximating the knees to the floor
  • PAILs – Adduction of the hips against the force of the elbows
  • RAILs – Abduction of the hips (opening of the hips bilaterally)

Hip One Joint Frog Stretch

Target: Short Adductors (longus, brevis) Assume a kneeling quadruped position. Separate the knees while pulling the calcanei as close to the buttock as possible; and nutating the sacrum.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Slide the knees laterally allowing the torso to sink to the floor
  • PAILs – Adduction of the hips by compressing the medial knees into the floor
  • RAILs – Abduction of the hips (opening of the hips bilaterally)

Hip Multi-Joint Standing Hamstring Stretch

Target: Hamstring group Place the lead leg on top of a box or riser. Keep the ankle in dorsiflexion and the knee slightly flexed. The trail leg remains straight with the torso facing directly forward.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Nutate the sacrum by pulling the buttock away from the lead knee (increasing lumbar lordosis)
  • PAILs – Contract the hamstrings group applying pressure on top of the box through the calcaneus
  • RAILs – Hip flexion approximating the abdomen to the lead leg thigh (keep the chest up and facing forward)

Hip Multi-Joint Half-Split

Target: Long adductors (Gracilis, Adductor Magnus) From a standing position, straighten one leg and slide it laterally along a box opening up the hips.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Use gravity to sink the pelvis inferiorly. Slide the extended leg laterally
  • PAILs – Adduction of the extended leg compressing the medial aspect of the ankle/foot into the floor
  • RAILs – Abduction of the hips (opening of the hips bilaterally)

Alternate: Hip Multi-Joint Karate Stretch (Adductors)

Hip Multi-Joint Z-Stretch

Target: Long hip flexor (Rectus Femoris) Kneel on one trail leg while positioning the lead leg directly in front of you balancing on the sole of the foot. Utilize supports if it is difficult to balance. Walk the lead leg anteriorly as much as possible creating extension in the trail leg. Flex the trail leg and put up against the wall.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – allow the pelvis to lower towards the floor (in the direction of the lead leg calcaneus) while maintaining a lordotic curve.
  • PAILs – Extend the trail knee into the wall. To increase intensity, simultaneously flex the trailing hip compressing the knee into the floor
  • RAILs – Flexion of both the trail and lead knee; extension of the trail hip with simultaneous flexion of the lead hip

Hip Multi-Joint Z-Stretch

Hip Multi-Joint Sumo Stretch

Target: Adductor Magnus, Short Adductors (longus, brevis), Gluteal Fascia In a standing position separate the feet (the wider the feet the greater the stretch intensity). Externally rotate the feet (the greater the external rotation the greater the stretch intensity). Squat down ensuring that the knees remain in line with the feet.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Use gravity to sink the pelvis inferiorly (increasing knee flexion). Use the elbows to push on the medial aspect of the knees forcing the hips into abduction
  • PAILs – Hip adduction against the resistance of the elbows
  • RAILs – Abduction of the hips (opening of the hips bilaterally) and flexion of the knees

Sleeper Stretch

Targets: Shoulder capsule (into internal rotation) While lying supine on a table or floor, roll on to your side such that you scapula is flat on the surface (semi supine, semi side-lying position). Move the pelvis posteriorly such that you are in a ‘V’ position as shown in the picture. Position the inferior shoulder joint at an angle less than 90 degrees (the exact angle can be altered depending on where tension is felt), and the elbow to 90 degrees. Grasp the wrist with the contralateral hand (control hand). In the correct position, the arm and hand should line up with hips.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Pressing with the superior hand onto the wrist approximate the palm to the ground (internal shoulder rotation)
  • PAILs – External rotation of the G/H joint into the resistance of the control hand
  • RAILs – Internal rotation of the G/H joint away from the control hand

Lat Stretch #1

Targets: Latissimus Dorsi, Coracobrachialis, Pectoralis major, Auxillary fascia In a quadruped position, place your hand on the ground and lean backwards until stretch it felt in the lat.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Lean away futher back allowing the scapula to protract. Approximate the anterior thorax to the ground via increasing G/H flexion
  • PAILs – Scapular retraction by way of pushing into the ground through the wrist; Shoulder extension
  • RAILs – Scapular protraction; shoulder flexion

Lat Stretch #2

Targets: Latissimus Dorsi, Coracobrachialis, Pectoralis major, Auxillary fascia Standing approximately 3-4 feet away from a door or vertical structure with the feet shoulder width apart grasping it with one arm. Bend the hips and knees leaning away.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Lean away from the wall allowing the scapula to protract. Approximate the anterior thorax to the ground via increasing G/H flexion
  • PAILs – Scapular retraction by way of pulling on the vertical structure with the arm; Shoulder extension
  • RAILs – Scapular protraction; shoulder flexion

Horizontal Abduction Stretch

Targets: Anterior shoulder, Biceps, Brachioradialis Standing beside a wall, extend the G/H joint and place the lateral wrist against it. In this position the G/H joint should also be internally rotated. Approximate the shoulder to the wall.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Rotate the body away from the wall
  • PAILs – Adduct the G/H joint applying pressure into the wall with the arm
  • RAILs – Horizontal abduction attempting to lift the arm away from the wall

Triceps Stretch

Targets: Triceps Grasp a towel or band with both hands behind the back as shown keeping the inferior arm straight and the superior arm bent.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Pulling down on the towel to accentuate elbow flexion
  • PAILs – Elbow extension
  • RAILs – Elbow flexion

Elbow Capsule External Rotation Stretch

Targets: Elbow Capsule (into external rotation) With the elbow bent to 90 degrees, grasp the distal forearm with the contralateral hand (control hand).

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Use the control hand to externally rotate (supinate) the forearm
  • PAILs – Pronation of the forearm against the resistance of the control hand
  • RAILs – Supination of the forearm

Note: From the same position, grasp the hand instead of the forearm and follow the directions to a rotational stretch of the wrist capsule.

Forearm Flexor Stretch

Targets: Forearm flexors From a quadruped position place the palms of the hands on the floor. Keep the elbows bent.

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – Lean back approximating the elbow towards the floor creating wrist dorsiflexion.
  • PAILs – Wrist flexion against the ground via pressing with the palms
  • RAILs – Wrist extension

Split Stance Rotation

Targets: Rotation of the torso in a pitcher / hitter specific positions

  • PASSIVE STRETCH – In line split stance position with the feet (can you squat rack as feedback for not rotating lower half) actively try to rotate torso towards back hip.
  • PAILs – Use a PVC pipe or partner to contract into an immovable object – focus on the torso contracting, not the arms.
  • RAILs – Actively try to rotate farther back towards the hip.