The Post-Workout Stretch You Need To Try

The next time you do your standard stretch after a workout, consider this new technique. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (or PNF) is similar to a basic stretch, and all you need to do it is a partner and some endurance. As Shape reports, the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise recently published a study which found that "PNF can improve range of motion more so than static or isometric stretching.”

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PNF is similar to a static stretch, except, as Shape explains, “you contract certain muscles while a partner helps hold you in that stretch.” For example, your partner helps stretch your hamstring, and before your she releases, you contract the muscle and your partner pushes you into the stretch the same way, this time further than the last. The stretch can be repeated for a few reps, pushing a little further each time.

Anthony Kay, Ph.D., the study author, told Shape, “The intense contractions during PNF reduce the stiffness of the tendon resulting in an increase in range of motion, and may be a mechanism for PNF's superior efficacy above other stretching modes.”

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Right now, Dr. Kay is developing a technique so you can stretch this way without a partner. While we wait, he recommends trying PNF with a friend after your next workout, or on a “rest” day two or three times a week.

Click through to Shape for more information about this stretch. (Shape)

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