Stretching isn’t just for the kale eating yogis!
PNF Stretching explained and the importance of holding stretches at the end of an exercise session.
By Bronte ‘The Apprentice’ Dalgleish.
OzSquadders, you are all fit individuals and most of you sweat and move at least 4 times a week at sessions with us or elsewhere (if this is not you, come to OzSquad more!). You should also therefore be stretching effectively.
I have no sympathy for a looming deadline, or your desire to make the 7:45 fast ferry. . . you can stretch anywhere and it takes no longer than waiting in line for a decaf, soy large mocha.
This blog aims to de-mystify PNF Stretching and explains how to properly stretch to increase your range of movement, prevent long-term injury and enable you to get the most out of your fitness practice! PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) techniques help develop muscular strength and endurance, joint stability, mobility, neuromuscular control, and coordination – all of which are aimed at improving the overall functional ability of you as an athlete.
HOW TO DO IT:
The muscle group to be stretched is positioned so that the muscles are stretched and under tension. The individual then contracts the stretched muscle group for 5 – 6 seconds while a partner, or immovable object, applies sufficient resistance to inhibit movement.
Please note; the effort of contraction should be relevant to the level of conditioning.
The contracted muscle group is then relaxed and a controlled stretch is applied for about 20 to 30 seconds. The muscle group is then allowed 30 seconds to recover and the process is repeated 2 – 4 times. Refer to the diagrams below for visual examples.
I wanted to keep this article brief and succinct so you could read it on your iPhone whilst waiting for your decaf, soy large mocha, but the main point I would like to get across is this:
Stretching is not something to rush at the end of a session, especially not a resistance based class. When you are stretching any part of your body after physical activity if you are holding the stretch for less than 15 seconds the act is redundant. PNF stretches with a partner, resistance band or a bench or tree is the best way to keep mobile.
Open up the chest and stretch through the lower back with this assisted supine twist. Feels good, promise!