The Basics of PNF Stretching
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, or PNF, is an advanced exercise for stretching the muscles and creating more flexibility. With the PNF exercises, the muscle groups are put through a routine of stretching and contracting.
This type of exercise is typically used in the rehabilitation process because of its proven effectiveness, but it also helps target specific muscle groups for improving strength and flexibility.
Precautions of PNF
PNF stretches can put extra stress on specific muscle groups. As a result, you can increase the risk of injury to the bodyís soft tissue areas. Before participating in any PNF stretches, be sure to include a conditioning phase in your routine. Also, donít neglect a warm up period prior to the stretches.
Advantages of Warming Up before PNF Stretching
How to do a PNF Stretch
The timing recommendations for the stretches tend to differ depending on who you ask. Some say you should contract the muscle groups longer, some disagree about how long to rest between stretches and others disagree about how long to hold each stretch. These timing recommendations, however, are based on a thorough study and research of PNF stretching.
If youíre trying to improve your flexibility or athletic performance, stretching is one of the most important things you can do. It not only strengthens your muscles and joints before exercising, but it also helps to prevent sports-related injuries and helps in the rehabilitation process following an injury. A few minutes engaged in a simple warm up routine of several different stretches is well worth the effort. I canít stress strongly enough not to neglect this vital part of every daily exercise routine. You could very well be doing more damage than good to your body.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Article by Brad Walker. Brad is an internationally recognized stretching and sports injury consultant with 20 years of practical experience in the health and fitness industry. Brad is also the author of The Stretching Handbook, The Anatomy of Stretching and The Anatomy of Sports Injuries.