Carter, A. M., Kinzey, S. J., Chitwood, L. F., & Cole, H. L. (2000). Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation causes decreased muscle activity associated with a rapid stretch in the biceps femoris. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32(5), Supplement abstract 100.

Stretching is prescribed commonly to prevent injury, muscle soreness, and restricted range of motion, as well as enhance athletic performance. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) produces the greatest improvement in movement range in the shortest time. Females (N = 24) were divided into a control and a PNF group. Motion was located in the biceps femoris.

PNF caused a decrease in muscle activity in response to sudden stretch, possibly due to desensitization of the muscle spindle. That imposes a risk for muscle and tendon injury. Muscles most likely will not respond optimally when required to perform sudden reflexive activities after PNF stretching or excessive stretching of other forms.

Implication. Using PNF in a warm-up, and indeed extensive stretching of any form, could predispose muscles to injury when reflexive explosive movements are required.

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