Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF)

There are three primary types of stretching: static, dynamic, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF).

The traditional and most common type is static stretching, where a specific position is held with the muscle on tension to a point of a stretching sensation and repeated. This can be performed passively by a partner, or actively by the subject. Dynamic stretching uses momentum and active muscular effort to lengthen a muscle, but the end position is not  held. PNF stretching typically involves a contraction of the opposing muscle to stretch the target muscle, followed by an isometric contraction of the target muscle.

There are several different types of PNF stretching, two of the most common techniques are “contract relax” (CR) and “contract-relax agonist contract” (CRAC).

These are generally performed by having the  patient or client contract the muscle being used during the technique at a percentage of maximal contraction, holding for 10 seconds, and then relaxing. Resistance can be provided by  a partner or with an elastic band or strap. According to recommendations from the literature to increase ROM, all types of stretching are effective, although PNF-type stretching may be more  effective for immediate gains. A systematic review of seven studies discussing ROM imply that  PNF in both the CR and CRAC methods, increases range of motion (ROM) and flexibility in all the subjects studied. At Stretch Lyfe we utilize PNF within our customized stretch sessions, come in  and experience the difference PNF can make in your performance!

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March 3, 2022