PNF stretching, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching, is a set of stretching techniques commonly used in clinical environments to enhance both active and passive range of motion in order to improve motor performance and aid rehabilitation.
PNF is considered an optimal stretching method when the aim is to increase range of motion, especially as regards short-term changes. Generally an active PNF stretch involves a shortening contraction of the opposing muscle to place the target muscle on stretch.
This is followed by an isometric contraction of the target muscle. PNF can be used to supplement daily stretching and is employed to make quick gains in range of motion – for example to help athletes improve performance. In addition to being safe and time efficient, the rapidly achievable gains in range of motion may also help promote compliance with the exercise and rehabilitation program.