PNF Stretching


PNF stretching (or proprioceptive muscular facilitation) is one of the most effective forms of flexibility training for increasing range of motion (1,2).

PNF techniques can be both passive (no associated muscular contraction) or active (voluntary muscle contraction). While there are several variations of PNF stretching, they all have one thing in common - they facilitate muscular inhibition. It is believed that this is why PNF is superior to other forms of flexibility training (1,2,3,4).

Both isometric and concentric muscle actions completed immediately before the passive stretch help to achieve autogenic inhibition - a reflex relaxation that occurs in the same muscle where the golgi tendon organ is stimulated. Often the isometric contraction is referred to as 'hold' and the concentric muscle contraction is referred to as 'contract'.

A similar technique involves concentrically contracting the opposing muscle group to that being stretched in order to achieve reciprocal inhibition - a reflex muscular relaxation that occurs in the muscle that is opposite the muscle where the golgi tendon organ is stimulated.

Using these techniques of 'contracting', 'holding' and passive stretching (often referred to as 'relax') results in three PNF stretching techniques. Each technique, although slightly different, involves starting with a passive stretch held for about 10 seconds.

For clarity and to compare each technique, think of a hamstring stretch in the supine (on back, face up) position for each example. The athlete places one leg extended, flat on the floor and the other extended in the air as close to right angles to the body as possible.

Hold-Relax

Contract-Relax



Hold-Relax with Opposing Muscle Contraction

Here are some other general guidelines when completing PNF stretching:




References
1) Cornelius, W.J. and M.M. Hinson. The relationship between isometric contractions and of hip extensors and subsequent flexibility in males. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness. 20:75-80. 1980
2)Holt, L.E., T.M. Travis, and T. Okia. Comparative study of three stretching techniques. Percept. Mot. Skills. 31:611-16. 1970
3)Sady, S.P., M. Wortman, and D. Blanke. Flexibility Training: Ballistic, static or proprioceptive muscular facilitation? Arch. Phys. Med Rehabil.63:261-63. 1982
4)Tanigawa, M.C. Comparison of the hold relax procedure and passive mobilization on increasing muscle length. Phys. Ther. 52:725-35. 1972



Return from this pnf stretching page to the main
flexibility training section




Great Stetching DVD To Improve Your Flexibility

The Stretching InstituteThis is a terrific DVD for anyone interested in improving their flexibility.

It will show how to improve your flexibility for health, fitness.

The videos and stretches are really clear and professional too.

Click here for more details...




RECOMMENDED RESOURCE

Great Stetching DVD

This is a terrific DVD for anyone interested in improving their flexibility.

It will show how to improve your flexibility for health, fitness.

The videos and stretches are really clear and professional too.

The Stretching Institute

See details here...

FREE GUIDE

100% FREE E-BOOK FOR EVERY VISITOR

Discover the truth about which health & fitness supplements work and which don't.

This eye-opening guide reviews the scientific facts and gives you them in plain English.

Click here for details or get it below

The Truth About Suplements Revealed





Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure. I promise to use it only to send you The Truth About supplements.

ABOUT PHIL

Phil DaviesIt's crucial that you can trust the content on this website. So if you'd like to read a bit more about me, and my credentials... you can do that here...

RSS FEED

[?] Subscribe To This Site

XML RSS
follow us in feedly
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Subscribe with Bloglines