PNF STRETCHING ENHANCES STRENGTH PERFORMANCE WHILE OTHER FORMS OF STRETCHING DO NOT

Conley, D., Belt, J. L., Hochstein, N. L., Evetovich, T. K., Engebretsen, B. J., & Todd, J. B. (2006). Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation but not static or ballistic stretching increases one repetition maximum bench press. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 38(5), Supplement abstract 1816.

This study compared the effects of non, static, light ballistic, and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching methods on 1 RM bench press performance. Recreationally trained male subjects (N = 10) served as Ss. One repetition maximum bench press was determined using the ACSM guidelines (2000). Ss were randomly assigned to complete each of four stretching treatments, no-stretching, static, light ballistic, and PNF stretching methods. The PNF stretching protocol used a contract (five seconds at 75% maximum effort) - relax (10 seconds) - stretch (10 seconds at moderate tension) sequence that targeted the triceps and chest muscle groups using two separate exercises. All stretches were timed and closely monitored. A minimum of 48 hours was required between each 1 RM test and all tests were completed within 14 days.

The average 1 RM bench press values using the PNF stretching protocol were significantly greater than the no-stretching, static, and light ballistic stretching protocols. There was no difference in bench press performance using any of the other stretching protocols evaluated in this study.

Implication. PNF stretching enhances strength performance whereas other forms of stretching do not.

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