Increase the Effectiveness of Your Stretching Routine

October 21, 2012 | Lee Ness

Must See Flexibility Videos

Static stretching is a great way to cool down after a workout. It enhances recovery, reduces muscle soreness, and increases flexibility and range of motion. However, you might not be getting the full benefits of this type of stretching with the traditional method of holding a stretch for an extended duration.

A type of static stretching called Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) has been found to be effective for increasing flexibility and range of motion. It may sound complicated, but it's actually quite simple.

Instead of performing a standard static stretch routine, alternate between stretching for 20 seconds and contracting the target muscle against your hand, partner or resistance band for 10 seconds. This tricks your body's natural protection mechanisms into allowing a deeper stretch and increased range of motion.

This method can be used for virtually any stretch (learn more static stretches), but here is an example so you can get an idea of how the technique is applied.

PNF Quad Stretch

  • Stand on one leg
  • Wrap towel around opposite ankle and pull it toward butt; place hand on wall for balance
  • Stretch quad for 20 seconds; keep knees together
  • Drive foot against towel for 10 seconds
  • Release and repeat sequence

Sets/Reps: 1x3 each leg

This type of stretching is very beneficial for athletes, but it should never be performed before a workout. That would sabotage your performance and put you at risk for injury. (Learn how to perform a dynamic warm-up.)

Topics: STRETCHING

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 152,830
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,502
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,268,862
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,536,765
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,144,153
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 896,437
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,256
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,395

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Increase Your Flexibility Without Stretching

Increase Your Flexibility Without Stretching

Generally, the best athletes are more prone to injury. This is because they function at peak performance, the fine line between injury and optimal...

The Most Important Muscle You've Never Heard Of

The Most Important Muscle You've Never Heard Of

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises for a Safe, Effective Workout

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises for a Safe, Effective Workout

The Importance of Recovery Workouts

The Importance of Recovery Workouts

3 Exercises That Fix Common Baseball Hip Mobility Issues

3 Exercises That Fix Common Baseball Hip Mobility Issues

Improve Your Balance with Stability Ball Exercises

Improve Your Balance with Stability Ball Exercises

How to Fix 4 Common Tight Areas in Your Body

How to Fix 4 Common Tight Areas in Your Body

Reducing Tight Hamstrings without Stretching for Hockey Players

Reducing Tight Hamstrings without Stretching for Hockey Players

Are Tight Hips Slowing You Down?

Are Tight Hips Slowing You Down?

Animal Flow Scorpion Reach for Injury Prevention

Animal Flow Scorpion Reach for Injury Prevention

Mobility Training for Hockey Goalies

Mobility Training for Hockey Goalies

Improve Your Squat With 6 At-Home Hip Flexor Mobility Exercises

Improve Your Squat With 6 At-Home Hip Flexor Mobility Exercises

Build a More Powerful Golf Swing With These Mobility Drills

Build a More Powerful Golf Swing With These Mobility Drills

Go the Distance With This Baseball Yoga Warm-Up

Go the Distance With This Baseball Yoga Warm-Up

The Ultimate Pitcher's Warm-Up: 4 Shoulder Exercises with Bands

The Ultimate Pitcher's Warm-Up: 4 Shoulder Exercises with Bands

YOGA FAILS, FIXED: How to Not Mess Up Downward Facing Dog

YOGA FAILS, FIXED: How to Not Mess Up Downward Facing Dog

Must-Have Additions to Your Baseball Stretching Routine

Must-Have Additions to Your Baseball Stretching Routine

Balance Exercises That Are Game-Changers

Balance Exercises That Are Game-Changers

These 9 Exercises Will Improve Your Hip Mobility

These 9 Exercises Will Improve Your Hip Mobility

Best Joint Mobility Exercises

Best Joint Mobility Exercises

3 Tips To Make Your Stretching Routine More Effective

3 Tips To Make Your Stretching Routine More Effective

Pre-Workout Warm-Up Steps You Can't Afford to Skip

Pre-Workout Warm-Up Steps You Can't Afford to Skip

6 Thoracic Spine Exercises to Improve Mobility

6 Thoracic Spine Exercises to Improve Mobility

You're Doing It Wrong: The Warm-Up

You're Doing It Wrong: The Warm-Up

Dig Like a Pro: Exercises for Volleyball Mobility

Dig Like a Pro: Exercises for Volleyball Mobility

Fundamentals of a Pre-Workout Warm-Up

Fundamentals of a Pre-Workout Warm-Up

Optimizing Energy Transfer in Your Lacrosse Shot

Optimizing Energy Transfer in Your Lacrosse Shot

How to Release Muscle Knots and Trigger Points

How to Release Muscle Knots and Trigger Points

The Yoga Warm-Up for Basketball Players

The Yoga Warm-Up for Basketball Players

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises Done the Right Way

Dynamic Warm-Up Exercises Done the Right Way

The Best Stretching Exercise for You

The Best Stretching Exercise for You

The Ultimate Turkey Bowl Warm-Up

The Ultimate Turkey Bowl Warm-Up

Add Warrior Poses to Your In-Season Training

Add Warrior Poses to Your In-Season Training

Flexibility for Cross Country From the Ground Up

Flexibility for Cross Country From the Ground Up

Green Bay Packers Discover Football's Fountain of Youth

Green Bay Packers Discover Football's Fountain of Youth

4 Ways to Increase Lacrosse Shot Rotational Power

4 Ways to Increase Lacrosse Shot Rotational Power

Why You Shouldn't Stretch 24 Hours Before a Game

Why You Shouldn't Stretch 24 Hours Before a Game

How Hockey Goalies Can Get More Flexible for a Better Butterfly

How Hockey Goalies Can Get More Flexible for a Better Butterfly

Why and When You Need to Change Your Pre-Game Warm-Up Routine

Why and When You Need to Change Your Pre-Game Warm-Up Routine

3 Drills for Better Hip Mobility

3 Drills for Better Hip Mobility

YardBarker