The Effect of Agonist-Hold-Relax PNF stretching vs. Antagonist-Hold-Relax PNF on Hamstring Length – Our first RCT

PNF stretching

In the last year of our Bachelor’s Study, we conducted a randomized controlled trial with two other students from our class. We investigated the effects of two PNF (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation) stretching techniques on hamstring extensibility measured by the sit-and-reach test. In the past, research had been conducted on PNF vs. other stretching techniques (static, ballistic, etc.) but there was no research on the different PNF compared to each other. We compared the so-called PNF target muscle (TM) with the opposing muscle (OM) techniques. Our trial included 97 participants.

Randomized controlled trial 1
Antagonist-contract relax PNF technique

Background: Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) is a stretching technique known to be the most effective method for increasing range of motion. There are different techniques within PNF whose mechanism of response has traditionally been attributed to autogenic and/or reciprocal inhibition. The purpose of this study was to compare the immediate effects of PNF target muscle (TM) versus opposing muscle (OM) in hamstring extensibility.
Methods: Ninety-seven healthy college students completed the study. Participants were randomly placed in either PNF-TM or PNF-OM group and were tested pre-intervention and post-intervention by the sit-and-reach test.
Results: Statistical analysis revealed that first: there was not a significant difference (p = 0.364) in the sit and reach test between groups; and second: there was a significant difference between post and pre intervention within the groups with p = 0.000 for PNF-TM group and p = 0.000 for PNF-OM.
Conclusion: These results suggest that PNF-OM is as effective and valuable as PNF-TM.

Randomized controlled trial2
Measurement of hamstring length by the Sit-and-Reach test

Check the research article below!


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