Effects of a short proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching bout on quadriceps neuromuscular function, flexibility, and vertical jump performance

Nicolas Place, Yannick Blum, Stéphane Armand, Nicola A Maffiuletti, David G Behm
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 2013, 27 (2): 463-70
The inclusion of relatively long bouts of stretching (repeated static stretches of ∼30 seconds) in the warm-up is usually associated with a drop in muscle performance. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of a novel self-administered proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) paradigm with short periods of stretching and contraction on quadriceps neuromuscular function, vertical jump performance, and articular range of motion (ROM). Twelve healthy men (age: 27.7 ± 7.3 years, height: 178.4 ± 10.4 cm, weight: 73.8 ± 16.9 kg) volunteered to participate in a PNF session and a control session separated by 2-7 days. The PNF stretching lasted 2 minutes and consisted of 4 sets of 5-second isometric hamstring contraction immediately followed by 5 seconds of passive static stretch of the quadriceps immediately followed by 5 seconds isometric quadriceps contraction for each leg. For the control session, the participants were asked to walk at a comfortable speed for 2 minutes. Active ROM of knee flexion, vertical jump performance, and quadriceps neuromuscular function were tested before, immediately after, and 15 minutes after the intervention. The PNF stretching procedure did not affect ROM, squat jump, and countermovement jump performances. Accordingly, we did not observe any change in maximal voluntary contraction force, voluntary activation level, M-wave and twitch contractile properties that could be attributed to PNF stretching. The present self-administered PNF stretching of the quadriceps with short (5-second) stretches is not recommended before sports where flexibility is mandatory for performance.

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