Sunday, March 8

Increased flexibility and ROM

Monte working hard.

Brandon, Betty and Monte (team 1) working together during our Saturday team WOD. (1:51.13)

Troy showing off his work.

Nick in doing some deep squat cleans.

Jaryl approaching the pull-up bar. If you ever want to watch someone train with intensity watch him.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is an advanced form of flexibility training that involves both the stretching and contraction of the muscle group being targeted. PNF stretching is currently the fastest and most effective way known to increase static-passive flexibility. (1,2)

In the 1980s, components of PNF began to be used by sport therapists on healthy athletes. The most common PNF leg or arm positions encourage flexibility and coordination throughout the limb's entire range of motion. PNF is used to supplement daily stretching and is employed to make quick gains in range of motion to help athletes improve performance. Good range of motion makes better biomechanics, reduces fatigue and helps prevent overuse injuries. PNF is practiced by physical therapists, massage therapists, athletic trainers and others.(3)

PNF stretching techniques take advantage of the sudden "vulnerability" of the muscle and its increased range of motion by using the period of time immediately following the isometric contraction to train the stretch receptors to get used to this new, increased, range of muscle length. This is what the final passive stretch accomplishes.(2)

How to perform a PNF stretch.
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. 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 30 seconds. The muscle group is then allowed 30 seconds to recover and the process is repeated 2 - 4 times. (1)

Certain precautions need to be taken when performing PNF stretches as they can put added stress on the targeted muscle group, which can increase the risk of soft tissue injury. To help reduce this risk, it is important to include a conditioning phase before a maximum, or intense effort is used. (1)

Here are some other general guidelines when completing PNF stretching:
1. Leave 48 hours between PNF stretching routines.
2. Perform only one exercise per muscle group in a session.
3. For each muscle group complete 2-5 sets of the chosen exercise.
4. Each set should consist of one stretch held for up to 30 seconds after the contracting phase.
5. PNF stretching is not recommended for anyone under the age of 18.
6. If PNF stretching is to be performed as a separate exercise session, a thorough warm up consisting of 5-10 minutes of light aerobic exercise and some dynamic stretches must precede it. 7. Avoid PNF immediately before, or on the morning of competition. (4)


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