A lot of people neglect stretching when working out. But if you want to achieve the ultimate physical health, you need to include it in your itinerary.
Among other techniques, PNF stretching is an effective way to optimize your muscles during training or workouts. However, it’s not without its drawbacks. So before trying it out, best learn its benefits and risks first. Let’s dive in!
Pros of PNF Stretching
It Will Increase Your Flexibility
Many studies have shown how PNF stretching boosts muscle flexibility. Take your hamstring and lower leg for example. Through PNF stretching techniques like the contract-relax and antagonist-relax methods, you can loosen up your hamstring muscles. This reduces your chances of having lower extremity problems like low back pain, knee pain, sciatica, and plantar fasciitis.
It Will Strengthen Your Joints
Doing PNF movements can also help strengthen and stabilize your joints. In fact, it’s the fastest (not to mention the most effective) way to loosen up the muscles around it! Best PNF techniques for joints include the 10-second quadricep passive stretch and the hold-relax method.
It Will Improve Your Blood Circulation
Additionally, performing PNF stretches regularly will increase your body’s blood flow. Improved circulation leads to more oxygen going to your muscles. This allows your body to recover faster as well as reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and other types of post-workout muscle pain.
It Will Enhance Your ROM
Lastly, doing PNF exercises will improve your overall ROM (range of motion). This allows you to enjoy increased joint movement and functions, improved movement efficiency, increased independence, reduced pain, and better muscle integrity.
Cons of PNF Stretching
It Will Take More Effort
On the other hand, doing PNF stretches requires more time and effort compared to other types of stretching. You’ll need a considerable amount of resolve to go through the techniques. So best motivate yourself first and think about the rewards PNF will bring. Otherwise, you might be better off doing other kinds of stretches.
It Can’t Be Done Alone
Although there are exceptions, most PNF techniques need to be done with a partner. With the right companion, you can do PNF stretching more effectively, as well as maximize its results. Luckily, there are many ways for you to find the best workout buddy.just make sure they’re familiar with PNF.
It Might Lead to Muscle Damage
Moreover, incorrectly doing PNF stretching can potentially lead to twisted and torn up muscles. So you need to be careful when doing it. If you’ve never tried it before, best seek out someone who has, preferably a professional trainer.
It’s Not For Everyone
Finally, PNF stretching is not for everyone. For example, it’s not recommended for certain professional athletes and dancers since PNF techniques like hold-swing-relax and hold-relax-bounce can cause unnecessary muscle stress. Additionally, children and teens should not do PNF exercises since their bones are still developing.
PNF stretching can bring you several benefits, although it comes with certain risks, too. So before trying it out, best make sure this type of stretching suits your workout needs and goals.