Thursday, August 28, 2014

PNF Stretching

I have big news folks: I've broken up with yoga!  Possibly permanently!

The results I have been getting from doing Essentrics are no short of miraculous.  But its no miracle, its actually based on science that's been around for a long time.  One of the fundamental components of this exercise program is PNF stretching, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching.  But don't let the fancy name scare you, its actually quite simple.  Basically, it involves  a shortening contraction of the opposing muscle followed by an isometric contraction of the target muscle. So in other words, you activate  or shorten the target muscle before lengthening it in order to increase range of motion and flexibility.  It has been used as a performance enhancing therapy and rehabilitative technique for a long time already.  Well, it seems this type of dynamic movement is far more helpful for me than deep static stretching such as those you perform in yoga.  After more than 5 years of varying degrees of chronic pain and stiffness in my lower body, I feel better than ever. I love that the routines are 20 minutes, and often use movements I hardly do (rotation of femur within the hip socket) and target areas I tend to neglect (hands and feet!).

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