If you’re tired of not being flexible, it’s time to try PNF stretches
Stretching generally seems like the part of exercise that doesn’t offer much, but it offers a lot more than you think, and one of them is better mobility and flexibility.
If you really want to improve your every movement, then you should try PNF stretches. This technique is proven to support your body in deeper positions so you can really feel the release of your muscles and body in general.
What is PNF?
Supporting proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, PNF sounds quite complicated. But in reality, it means contracting and relaxing the muscle while you stretch. The goal is to activate the nerve that allows the muscles to relax and stretch in order to go deeper into the poses, while preventing injury.
Studies have shown that PNF stretching is the most effective way to improve range of motion, increase muscle length and neuromuscular performance – how well you can activate and apply force through a muscle.
When to do PNF stretches?
Because PNF immediately improves your mobility and muscle activation, there are benefits to doing it before a workout. For example, improving your hip range of motion with PNF stretches in your warm-up can help you lower lower into a squat during the workout.
However, it should not be the first type of stretching you do, because it can be very effective and a very important supplement to strength training, however, because they are intense exercises, they require well-warmed muscles. For this reason, we recommend starting with some gentle but also dynamic stretches before PNF stretches.
How to do PNF
PNF stretching involves holding a specific stretch near your maximum point of flexibility while gently applying force to the stretch. You contract the stretched muscle for up to 10 seconds and then move away from it. If you repeat three times you will notice that your flexibility will gradually increase.
You can use a partner, a towel or a strap to help you strengthen the muscles, or you can perform them using just your body.
PNF HAMIRO STRETCH
- Lie on your back with your legs straight. Raise one leg to the ceiling.
- Keep the leg as straight as possible and place your hands behind your thigh. Gently pull the leg towards you until you find yourself almost stretching as far as you can go.
- To contract your glutes, kick your leg into the ceiling while pressing your leg into your hands while inhaling. Alternatively, you can wrap a towel or large resistance band around the ball of the foot and apply pressure while pulling the ends toward the ground, or use a partner to gently push.
- Hold the contraction for up to 10 seconds.
- Exhale as you release and pull the leg a little further towards you.
- Repeat three times and switch legs.
PNF HIP FLEXOR AND QUAD STRETCH
- Come into a low stance with your right leg forward, knee bent 90 degrees and left leg extended behind you with foot and knee on the ground.
- Place your left hand on the floor and extend your right arm behind you.
- Kick your left leg up so that the heel comes towards the buttocks and grab it with your right hand.
- If you can’t reach your leg, wrap a towel or resistance band around your ankle to pull it toward you.
- Contract your quadriceps and push them in toward your arm or belt as you inhale.
- Exhale to relax the leg and pull it slightly towards you.
- Repeat three times and switch legs.
PNF CHEST STRETCH
- For this stretch, you ideally need a door frame or the corner of a wall.
- Stand parallel to the wall with the corner aligned with your shoulders.
- Place the hand on the wall with your elbow bent at a right angle.
- Inhale to press your hand against the wall, contracting your chest muscles.
- Exhale to release the contraction and lean further into the stretch (you may need to take a small step forward).
- Repeat three times and switch hands.
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