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PNF stretching

mikesbytes2010-07-05 00:30:31 +0000 #1
Came upon this post on a general fitness forum.


PNF stretching is really good for increasing your flexibility quickly. The principle behind it is that you "trick" the stretch receptors in your muscles that your muscle is relaxed so it will let the muscle fibres stretch more. Start by doing a normal static strech at about 80% capacity, hold for 15sec then contract/ resist the muscle you're stretching (eg If you're stretching your hamstring on a chair by stretching forwards, press your heel down into the chair to contract your hammy), for 10secs, relax for 2 sec then increase your static stretch to 100%. Repeat 3 times. PNF stretching can only be done every 2 or 3 days as the muscle fibres will tear (soreness the next dasy) so you need time to repair in between sessions. Normal static and dynamic flexibility can be done everyday. HTH

What's your view on this?
Bridgette2010-07-05 00:33:59 +0000 #2
From my personal practice, I don't like the concept of PNF stretching. First, It can be VERY painful the next day, secondly it doesn't create the long, lean flexible muscles, but rather bigger and bulker muscles.

Any practice that creates discomfort is bad in my book. I had a trainer do this with me once, and my knee's have never been the same.
mikesbytes2010-07-05 01:17:34 +0000 #3
Thanks Bridgette, I'll stick to normal stretching.
Nichole2010-07-05 00:55:01 +0000 #4
I think that you will achieve safe and effective lengthening in the belly of the muscle fibers by using your breath and taking your time in gaining this lengthening. I have watched people gain inches in their Uttanasana (forward bend) by breathing, self-massaging their hamstrings and being willing to come out of the posture to rest. A little mental sweet talking helps too as does an inward smile...seriously! It seems that our bodies are always asking if they are safe in the presence of our minds and egos. Even while the body is capable, it is will brace and hold against aggressive, rajasic attempts to force it into anything; just as it opens up when we are sattvic and approaching with great respect and love.

Neurophysiology was my focus for my degree and if there is one thing that I've learned in my all of my studies--Yoga and traditional--there is no "tricking" our bodies or more specifically "tricking" the stretch receptors within our muscles as this article leads one to believe. Instead you damage the tendons and their end points around our joints--like Bridgette shared around her knee injury. Our muscles have Golgi tendon organs and muscle spindles for one reason: to keep our muscles and tendons in good working order by regulating tension and stretch respectively.

All of this said, because of my background and training, I use some PNF techniques in the framework of Yoga with clients who I know well and who follow their breath during this work and not their minds. I breath with them, stay with them, it stays sattvic or we come out.

I would like to share, with respect, that everything I know of PNF techniques and isometric contraction within PNF is in contrast with what Bridgette has shared with regards to any of it creating "bulky and bigger muscles" or, for that matter, any significant muscular toning. I am very curious--Bridgette, would mind sharing where you got this information? Was it from the same trainer what you mentioned working with? I am always curious about opinions that are in opposition to my own studies and opinions--I am a voracious student--and I think it will add to the thread to share that with our readers here.




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