The public’s growing interest in stretching has caused more and more people to take a closer look at proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) stretching techniques. PNF stretch makes use of short muscle contractions that are followed by an assisted stretch. It works to stimulate your muscle’s sensory and awareness receptors to gain more stretch. Anyone who’s been to a stretch gym can attest to the benefits of this assisted stretching method.
Aside from the fact that it effectively increases the range of motion within a short amount of time, it also helps improve an individual’s overall performance.
What are the Three Main Types of PNF Stretches?
This PNF stretch starts with a passive pre-stretch that’s held at a point of mild discomfort for 10 seconds. You’ll be instructed to hold the position and resist the movement for another 6 seconds as the stretch practitioner applies a hip flexion force. In case you’re wondering, your resistance will trigger an isometric muscle action.
Next, you’ll be instructed to relax. At the same time, the stretch therapist manipulates your body to perform a passive stretch for about 30 seconds.
The second PNF stretch technique also begins with a passive pre-stretch of a specific muscle group. Similar to the hold-relax method, this position is also held at a point of mild discomfort for 10 seconds before you’ll get instructions to extend your hip against a resisting force that’s being applied by the stretch therapist.
The purpose of this technique is to trigger a concentric muscle action via the full range of motion.
Hold-Relax with Agonist Contraction
This technique’s first two phases are similar to the hold-relax method. However, its third phase uses the agonist’s concentric action on top of the passive stretch to add the stretch force. As you flex your hip following the isometric hold, you’re moving further into your new range of motion.
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