Tight Hamstrings Cure - PNF Stretches!
Do you have tight hamstrings? Have you given PNF (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) a try?
A little history about PNF it was created by Dr Herman Kabat in the 1940's to treat polio and M.S. Physical therapists, massage therapists and stretch therapists use PNF to increase flexibility of their clients through their reflexes (autogenic inhibition and reciprocal inhibition)
Autogenic inhibition means that you are using the same muscle's contraction as the muscle you are stretching. Reciprocal inhibition means you are using an opposing muscles contraction to deepen the stretch.
There are PNF 3 options:
1. Hold Relax
2. Contract Relax
3. Hold Relax Contract ( this is the most effective stretch option but you have to really think about what muscles your are activating - you will have to use your brain muscle! LOL)
Hold Relax (you will need a non elastic device): Lie on your back with the loop around your arch of your foot and pull that straight leg to you. Get a gentle stretch of your hamstrings (hold for 10 seconds). Then try to push that leg toward the floor but the leg does not move for 6-10 seconds. Then pull the leg toward you and you you should notice you can stretch further! Hold this deep stretch for 30 seconds.
Contract Relax (you will need a strong elastic band): Lie on your back as in the previous exercise and get into your gentle stretch. Then try to press that leg toward the floor but resist the movement via the resistance band (press downward for 6-10 seconds). Then return the leg and find a deeper hamstrings stretch. Hold this deep stretch for 30 seconds.
Hold Relax Contract (you will need a non-elastic device): This option is exaactly like Hold Relax BUT when you pull your leg into a deeper stretch, you also actively think of drawing that leg toward you with you hip flexor. By activating the hip flexors you are getting reciprocal inhibition and autogenic inhibition reflexes helping you achieve more degrees of freedom. The previous two options just used the autogenic inhibition to increase the stretch.
Please watch this short video to see the 3 PNF options in action. You will also see and hear tips to improve your technique.
If you find this information please reach out and let me know and share!
Have a great day! Martina