Benefits of PNF Stretching

Benefits of PNF stretching
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Kent Probst, BS, MEd
Kent Probst is the owner of Long Healthy Life Blog

Benefits of PNF Stretching: What is PNF?

Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) is a stretching technique that uses an isometric (static) contraction of a target muscle and a concentric contraction of an opposing muscle coinciding with a controlled approach to the stretch. The benefits of PNF Stretching include: 

  • Postural Stability
  • Balance
  • Injury Rehabilitation
  • Improved Range of Motion
  • Injury Prevention


The benefits of PNF stretching are important because flexibility is one of the five components of physical fitness.  

PNF stretching is typically performed with assistance from another person, preferably a trained fitness professional.

Every person has different needs regarding flexibility, but everyone should make flexibility a component of their fitness regimen for optimal fitness.  

Flexibility is the ability to move your joints unimpeded with full range of motion (ROM) without pain.

While normal ranges of motion are established for all joints, flexibility differs from person to person.

Regular stretching will improve flexibility.


Benefits of PNF Stretching: How They Work

There are 4 types of PNF stretching techniques:

1. Contract-relax – The muscle is stretched passively and the assistant resists the contracted muscle for 5-10 seconds.


2. Hold-relax – The muscle is placed into a passive stretch isometrically by the assistant, maintaining the stretch 5-10 seconds, and then allowing relaxation. 


3. Hold-relax-contract – Very much like the hold-relax technique, the targeted muscle is contracted 5-10 seconds after the stretch. 


4. Contract-relax-antagonist-relax – 

1. The targeted muscle is placed into the stretched position, and contracted 5-10 seconds. 

2.The assistant applies resistance to prevent movement of the muscle group.

3.The targeted muscle is relaxed for 3-5 seconds.

4.The antagonist muscle (opposite to the target muscle) is contracted for 5-10 seconds.

5.Following relaxation, the assistant passively stretches the targeted muscle 20-30 seconds for a deeper stretch with increased range of motion. 

6.The muscle is relaxed for 30 seconds. Repeat the above process 2-3 times. 


How to Use PNF Stretching

Although the PNF demonstrations are done with the hamstring muscle, PNF can be used on other muscle groups as well.

PNF stretching should be viewed as one more option regarding flexibility. 

PNF stretching can be used to improve performance involving maximal efforts, as well as improve overall athletic performance. 

Much of the literature suggests that PNF stretching should be done following exercise at least two times per week to improve athletic performance

PNF has demonstrated the ability to improve performance of submaximal activity such as jogging by increasing stride frequency and length

The benefits of PNF also include its use in clinical settings by therapists to increase the strength of patients who have experienced soft tissue damage or surgery and to restore functional range of motion (ROM).

Every person has different needs regarding flexibility, but everyone should make flexibility a component of their fitness regimen for optimal fitness.  

Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I’ve linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.

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Hi, I'm Kent

As a personal trainer, kinesiotherapist and bodybuilder, I’ve dedicated my life to optimal nutrition, fitness and natural remedies. And putting it all into practice. Now I’m taking my experience and knowledge to the next level by helping others through blogging.


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