PNF Stretching is Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. A simpler way to put it would be, PNF stretching is an assisted stretch to help give you a deeper stretch.
Many individuals may suffer from lower back pain or other aches and pains from having a mostly seditary lifestyle from sitting at a desk all day at work. Taking the time to do these three PNF stretches could ease your pain and increase your body's flexibility and circulation.
The first stretch is geared towards the hamstring. The trainer or partner will have the athlete lay flat on their back. Then the athlete will lift the leg to a 90-degree and the trainer will try to push it back for about 5-6 seconds. Then, the trainer will let her rest and repeat, this time the athlete will push towards the trainer's hand, adding resistance to the stretch. Once the athlete releases this time, the trainer should be able to push back a little bit deeper.
The next stretch is geared toward the quad/hip flexor region. The trainer should stand behind the athlete and cradle his/her knee and press the other hand just beneath the hip, which will protect the knee and lower back. The athlete should only feel the stretch in the front of her thigh. The trainer then pulls back until the athlete fills a stretch. Again, the athlete will add resistance for 5-6 seconds, release and then the trainer should be able to pull back deeper to repeat the stretch.
The third stretch is the for the chest. Have the athlete sit up straight and reach her arms up. The trainer will then pull her forearms back until the athlete feels the stretch. Again, the athlete will start to add resistance to the stretch for about 5-6 seconds, with deep breaths. Then, the trainer should be able to pull her arms further back for a deeper stretch. This stretch can also be done using a doorway instead of a partner or trainer.
The contract and retract method of PNF stretching really helps you gain a deeper stretch compared to just holding a certain position. PNF stretching is most effective when your body is warm so after a workout, after a hot shower, or on a hot day outside is when your body is the most susceptible to adapting. To learn more about PNF stretching and to see how you can sign up for individual PNF classes visit our website.