Written By Rumzz Bajwa / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Can you not bend down to tie your shoes due to tight hips? It sounds like you might need to improve your flexibility with some PNF stretches! This technique has often been used in physical therapy to help patients restore their full range of motion after sustaining an injury. Keep reading to learn more about PNF stretching, the different methods, and when you should expect to notice an increase in your flexibility.
What is PNF Stretching?
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching is a technique people use to increase their flexibility and range of motion. Individuals achieve this by increasing the length of their muscles and neuromuscular efficiency. This is an advanced method of stretching, so it’s best to have a professional perform PNF stretches on you if it’s your first time.
The PNF Stretching Methods
There are several techniques of PNF stretching that each use isometric and isotonic movements to help the body get into a deeper stretch. This form of stretching is safe when you’re under the supervision of a professional stretching coach, and you’ll get better outcomes than if you were to try it on your own. Below are some PNF stretching methods to try.
When performing this method of PNF stretching, you will need to isometrically contract the opposite muscle you’re trying to stretch for a few seconds. After you’re finished contracting, you’ll try to further stretch the target muscle. The contract-relax method can be performed on any muscle that performs its opposite motion. It uses a simple reflex in the human body to give you a deeper stretch.
The hold-relax is one of the most common PNF stretches. This technique involves stretching a muscle and holding it for a few seconds. You’ll contract the muscle by pushing gently against the stretch without moving it. This will allow your body to go beyond a normal stretch for a few seconds. You will relax after holding the position. Each time you back in into the stretch should be deeper than the last.
For the hold-relax-contract technique, you’ll be doing what you did during the hold-relax method. The only difference is that you will actively push into the stretch after pushing against it.
This stretch should only be used by advanced athletes with a high level of control over their muscle stretch reflex. It involves the same technique as the hold-relax method, except the passive stretch at the end is replaced with dynamic or ballistic stretching. It’s a less common PNF stretch because of the risks it carries.
Best PNF Stretches for Flexibility
Targeting the right muscles can ensure increased flexibility in your whole body. Some spots are prone to getting tighter than others, and problems with those muscles can cause issues to the surrounding ones. Below are some of the best PNF stretches you can try to increase flexibility and make everyday activities just a little bit easier.
Hamstring stretches help improve your hips’ flexibility and range of motion. These make everyday tasks such as walking up the stairs and bending over easier. Keeping your hamstrings loose with PNF stretching can also improve your posture. For this stretch, you’ll lay down on your back with your legs straight in front of you. A stretching coach will lift your leg off the floor and push it toward you until you feel the stretch in your hamstring.
Seated Toe Touch
Another good hamstring stretch is the seated toe touch. This move is also great for relieving lower back pain. The starting position is sitting up straight with your legs out in front of you. As you reach forward to touch your toes while keeping your back flat, a stretching coach will gently push you farther for a deeper stretch.
Having flexible chest muscles is also key to maintaining your proper posture. It also ensures full mobility in your shoulder joints so you can lift your arms without difficulty. For the assisted chest stretch, you’ll sit straight up and raise your arms. The stretching coach will be behind you and pull your forearms back until you feel the stretch.
Hip Flexor Stretch
This will target the quads and hip flexors. Start by lying on your side. The stretching coach will stand behind you, cradle your knee with one hand, and place the other hand right below the hip. This will protect your knee and lower back during the stretch. Your stretching coach will pull your leg back until you feel the stretch in the front of your thigh.
Strong and flexible glutes will eliminate back pain, improve your athletic performance, prevent injuries, and improve your posture. You’ll start by lying on your back, and your stretching coach will bend your knee and hip, rotating your leg so that your knee is facing outward. Your stretching coach will slightly lean in to push your leg until you can feel the stretch in your glute.
When Will You See an Increase in Flexibility?
If you want to increase your flexibility, it will take a lot of consistency and discipline. If you stretch on a regular basis, you might begin to notice a difference within a couple of weeks. Of course, no two people will achieve the same results, even if they do the same stretches every day. This is because other factors can affect your flexibility. Some examples include:
- Muscle mass
- Joint structure
- Skeletal structure
Are You Ready to Improve Your Flexibility with PNF Stretches?
Regularly performing PNF stretches under the supervision of a professional stretching coach can provide you with many benefits when it comes to your flexibility. As you breathe through the stretches, you should notice a slight increase in your range of motion. When you keep it up, you’ll be able to bend down without feeling pain again!
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Rumzz Bajwa is a digital strategist and content marketer. She enjoys spending time with her family. She loves to go out and experience new moments whenever they came to light. Rumzz discovers satisfaction in investigating new subjects that help to extend her points of view. You can frequently locate her immersed in a good book or out searching for a new experience
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.