Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) Stretching
PNF is also commonly known as isometric stretching. The process of performing a PNF stretch involves the following. The muscle group to be stretched is positioned so that the muscles are stretched and under tension. For example to stretch the hamstrings the individual performs a straight leg raise while lying on his/her back then contracts the stretched muscle group for 5 – 6 seconds while the practitioner applies adequate resistance to inhibit movement. The contracted muscle group is then relaxed and a controlled stretch is applied for approximately 30 seconds. The muscle group is then allowed 30 seconds to recover and the process is repeated 2 – 4 times.
PNF is an excellent stretching technique for athletes of all skill levels from the recreational participant to the world class champion.