image description image description

Posts Tagged ‘fitness tips Atlanta’

What Exactly Is PNF StretchingAs you read in our previous blog post, stretching is an essential part of any physical activity. When performed correctly, stretching can help increase a person’s flexibility, range-of-motion (ROM), and overall physical performance. However, not all stretches are the same. It’s important to identify the appropriate type of stretching to help you maximize the effects of your workout. For example, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching is an advanced form of stretching designed to increase flexibility by simultaneously stretching and contracting the muscle group being targeted.

Initially developed as a form of injury rehabilitation, PNF stretching utilizes deeper stretches intended to increase a person’s ROM and muscular strength. The goal of PNF stretching is to produce deeper stretches intended to push a targeted muscle group to its limit. By doing so, the stretch triggers the inverse myotatic reflex, a protective reflex that helps calm the muscle and prevent potential injury. Mastering the three PNF stretching techniques below can help you reach a level of flexibility you may not have previously thought was possible:

Hold-Relax

  • This may involve putting a muscle in a stretched position and holding for a few seconds (otherwise known as a passive stretch).
  • Additionally, contracting the muscle without moving, such as pushing gently against the stretch without actually moving, can also be done.
  • Lastly, relaxing your stretch, and then stretching again while exhaling is another hold-relax method.

Contract-Relax

  • Contract-Relax is very similar to hold-relax, only instead of contracting the muscle without moving, the muscle is contracted while moving.
  • Consider a simple hamstring stretch as an example. During your stretch, a trainer could provide resistance as you contract the muscle and push your leg down towards the floor.


Hold-Relax-Contract

  • Hold-Relax-Contract is similar to Hold-Relax, only after pushing against the stretch, you do not relax into a passive stretch.
  • Instead, you actively push into the next stretch.
  • For example, in the hamstring stretch mentioned above, this could mean working the muscles to raise the leg higher while the trainer pushes in the same direction.

Before undertaking any PNF stretching technique, make sure that your thorough warm up has been completed. Warming up prior to stretching has a number of benefits essential for preparing the body and mind for the strenuous physical activity ahead. Remember to speak with one of the professionals at Synergy Sports Wellness Institute™ before attempting PNF stretching for the first time to help avoid potential injury. For more information or to schedule an in-person consultation, please contact Synergy™ Sports Wellness Institute today or follow us on social media.