Beaufort Health and Fitness: PNF Stretching
“Hey everyone! Cory from EarthFIT here. Today I am going to talk about PNF Stretching. So PNF stretching is a tool that you can use to get a much deeper stretch. So we do this in a recovery training so I’m going to go through how to do them. It stands Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. Basically what we’re doing is we are consciously activating the golgi tendon to relax the muscle so we can stretch deeper. All that means is we are going to get a deep stretch and then the muscle that you are stretching, you are going to contract it, and then once you relax it is going to relax even further than it did the first time and the stretch is going to increase. So the big thing here- you want to make sure to always increase the stretch, increase the range of motion; at no point are we going to decrease the stretch.
So as we are doing this stretch we are not going to stretch and relax back and forth like this (please see the video) that doesn’t do anything. So what we are going to do – find where it’s a good stretch and just feel that stretch for a few seconds then you are going to contract that muscle, so right here we are stretching the hamstrings, so you can imagine kicking your leg down to the ground and slightly pointing your toe up, so we are contracting the hamstring here and then we are going to relax so that stretch is going to go deeper.
We’re always going to increase the range of motion, not decrease it, so once more contract the hamstring by kicking down but I’m holding it in place with the strap then when I relax it goes deeper. So you might shake a little bit like I do, that’s alright. So once more big thing when we relax we are keeping tension on the strap, we are not going to relax everything and let it pull us forward, because again, this doesn’t do anything, so keep tension and only relax the muscle that you are pressing.
So I’m going to show you different stretch. We are going to do quad stretch from standing because with any stretch we can do a PNF with it. Some of them require assistance but we can do a PNF with any stretch so if I’m stretching out my quad right here you know I’m feeling a nice deep stretch in the front of the leg. I’m going to PNF by using my arm to hold that leg in place as I kick down, as I’m kicking I’m activating the quad and then once I relax, I relax the quad but I keep tension my arm. You saw how that stretch went a little bit deeper. So if your foot is already against your hips when you do this you’re just going to lean forward with it, pull your leg further back, so once more I’m going to kick to my hand but keep it in place, then I’m going to relax my quad but I keep tension in my arm because we need to keep tension on what’s pulling us deeper into the stretch, so again here my range of motion increased each time. I didn’t relax everything and let it go forward and then pull going back and forth.
So you always want to increase the range of motion getting deeper stretch, you’re picking that muscle, stretching as far as you can, contracting it for a few seconds, and then relaxing it completely pulling that stretch deeper. So that’s what we are doing during recovery trainings and that will help you get a deeper stretch, you always want to make sure that you warm up before stretching, no matter if it’s normal stretching or PNF stretching, and ideally this kind of stretching since it’s deeper you want to be able to do that after a workout. It’s not ideal to do it before you could, but I’d recommend after workout and certainly warm up for it.”