PNF or ‘Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation’ is one of the most effective forms of stretching to increase your body’s range of movement. The technique was originally developed to help during muscle rehabilitation after injury or accident but the benefits to fully fit athletes and sportsmen were quickly realised. Studies have shown that PNF stretching has brought, on average, a 20% short-term increase in movement range which can be extremely significant to an individual’s overall performance.
So how does PNF stretching work?
Essentially the techniques used cause a reflex muscle ‘relaxation’ or ‘inhibition’ to occur that allows both the muscle itself or opposing muscles to contract without incurring damage or tears during the stretch. The techniques involved include stages of:
- Passively stretching the muscle
- Contracting the muscle using resistance and movement
- Contracting the muscle and holding it in position using resistance without movement
How do you undertake a PNF stretch?
PNF stretches are best achieved initially using your therapist. Once the techniques are understood, you can then instruct colleagues or friends to help you.
Long term Benefits
Over time, PNF stretching will increase your overall flexibility through an increased range of movement in the targeted muscles. This, in turn, will greatly improve your overall competitive performance and post-event recovery.
For more information about how to correctly perform PNF stretches, please ask your therapist during or before a treatment session.