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A Comparison of Self-administered Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation to Static Stretching on Range of Motion and Flexibility

Wicke, Jason; Gainey, Kamar; Figueroa, Michael

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p 168–172
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182956432
Original Research

Abstract: Wicke, J, Gainey, K, and Figueroa, M. A comparison of self-administered proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation to static stretching on range of motion and flexibility. J Strength Cond Res 28(1): 168–172, 2014—Stretching is known to be an effective method for increasing range of motion. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) is a stretching technique that is often associated with a partner. The goal of this study was to examine the changes in hip range of motion (ROM) and hip, back and shoulder flexibility (HBSF) after an intervention of self-administered PNF vs. traditional static stretching. Nineteen healthy college-aged individuals (ages 19–25 years) completed the study. Participants were tested preintervention and postintervention for hip ROM and HBSF using a goniometer and sit-and-reach test, respectively. Interventions included static or self-PNF hamstring stretching 2 × 40 seconds on each leg for 6 weeks. Participants were randomly placed in a group, and upon completion of the intervention and a 1-week rest period, they repeated the process with the other intervention. Statistical analysis revealed that there was a significant difference (p < 0.01) in the change in hip ROM and HBSF between the static stretch and self-PNF group. Mean and SD changes in the hip ROM were −6.2 ± 6.6° vs. 0.6 ± 4.5° for the PNF and static groups, respectively (where a negative value indicates an increase in ROM) and 5.2 ± 3.3 cm vs. 2.0 ± 2.6 cm, respectively, for HSBF. In addition, significant improvements (using 99% confidence intervals) were found in the 2 measures after the PNF intervention but only in HBSF after the static stretching intervention. These results suggest that self-PNF can be used in place of static stretching, does not require a partner, and gives control of the stretching to the individual.

William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey

Address correspondence to: Jason Wicke, wickej@wpunj.edu.

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.