How Should You Do PNF Stretches to Improve Flexibility?


Quick Answer

To improve flexibility with PNF stretches, perform a relaxed stretch followed by a contracting stretch. Complete the stretching cycle with another relaxed stretch. Do PNF stretches with a partner, and warm up with light aerobic exercise prior to stretching.

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Full Answer

  1. Warm up with light aerobic exercise

    If performing PNF stretches as a singular workout, warm up with 5 to 10 minutes of aerobic exercise. Choose a partner to help you complete the stretches properly.

  2. Start with a relaxed stretch

    Focus on one muscle group at a time, such as the ham strings. Stand on one leg, and extend the other leg horizontally, raising the leg as high as you can. Have your partner hold the leg in this position for about 10 seconds.

  3. Contract the muscles

    Push your leg down, against your partner’s hands as hard as possible. Have your partner push back against your leg, providing resistance. Continue this phase of the stretch for about six seconds, then return to the relaxed stretch.

  4. Hold the relaxed stretch

    Lift your leg as high as possible, and hold the relaxed stretch for 30 seconds. Repeat the three-step stretching cycle 2 to 5 times for each muscle group.

  5. Rest between PNF stretching sessions

    Wait 48 hours after each PNF stretching session to complete another session. Do not engage in PNF stretches if you are less than 18 years of age.

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