PNF Stretches For Beginners: Different Techniques And Helpful Tips

Whether you are an athlete or nonathlete, having a flexible body is essential for better mobility and preventing injuries. It improves range of motion, building strength and stability. Although flexibility varies from person to person, you must stretch regularly to maintain joint and overall body health. 

But before getting started, understand that not all stretching techniques offer equal results. Generally, there are three types of techniques:

  • Static, 
  • Dynamic, and
  • PNF (Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation). 

The static technique includes holding your targeted muscle for a few seconds and releasing it. It is generally performed to relieve muscle tension and improve speed, agility, and acceleration. The dynamic technique focuses on controlled movement for the safe and better performance of muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissues. PNF technique depends upon body reflexes for deeper stretching and increasing flexibility. 

All these techniques are pretty effective. But, for this article, we’ll focus on PNF stretching techniques, especially for beginners. 

What Is It? 

This technique was ideally developed to treat neuromuscular disorders like multiple sclerosis and polio. Nevertheless, you can use this technique to improve your physical fitness.

These stretches generally focus on natural reflexes of the body to increase the range of motion. The target muscle is stretched to its limit, triggering the inverse myotatic (protective) reflex. The protective reflex helps calm the muscle to prevent injury while offering great relaxation. 

It is noteworthy that beginners are often recommended to go for assisted stretching due to the intensity of this technique. With the help of professionals, you can open and expand your muscles, offering freedom of movement to your body. Furthermore, it will help reduce the chances of muscle pull, strain, or tear. 

What Are The Different Techniques? 

There are 3 techniques for utmost relaxation, these are: 

  • Hold-relax: Put a muscle into the passive stretch and hold for a few seconds. Contracting the muscle without moving until the reflex is triggered. After 6 to 10 seconds relaxing the muscles. It will ensure that your second stretch is deeper than the first one. 
  • Contract-relax: It is similar to the hold-relax, except that instead of contracting the muscle without moving, you need to contract the muscle while moving. It is generally known as isotonic stretching. For instance, hamstring stretch, Russian twists, pull-ups. 
  • Hold-relax-contract: In this type of stretches, you need to push into the stretch instead of relaxing into the passive stretch. For instance, during a hamstring stretch, you need to raise your leg further for a deeper stretch. 

Helpful Tips To Stretch Correctly 

Needless to say, stretching is effective as long as you are doing it correctly. Use the following tips for stretching correctly:

  • Deepen the stretch when you exhale; it will improve your range of motion from 10 to 45 degrees. 
  • Focus on breathing and calming thoughts throughout the stretch to avoid muscle tightening. 
  • Just remember to contract, relax, breathe and stretch. 

Key Takeaway, 

If you wish to improve your flexibility and release muscle tension, PNF stretching is for you. It will work with your natural reflex and help improve your range of motion. Nevertheless, if you are scared of trying this technique on your own, working with a professional or stretchologist is the option you should opt for. 

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