The differential effects of PNF versus passive stretch conditioning on neuromuscular performance
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Minshull, C., Eston, R., Bailey, A., Rees, D. & Gleeson, N. (2014) The differential effects of PNF versus passive stretch conditioning on neuromuscular performance, European Journal of Sport Science, vol. 14, , pp. 233-241,
The effects of flexibility conditioning on neuromuscular and sensorimotor performance were assessed near to full knee extension (25). Eighteen males who were randomly assigned into two groups underwent eight weeks (three-times per week) of flexibility conditioning (hip region/knee flexor musculature; dominant limb) involving either proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) (n=9) or passive stretching (PASS) (n=9). Both modes of flexibility conditioning are popular within contemporary exercise and clinical settings and have demonstrated efficacy in improving range of motion. The contralateral limb and a prior 'no exercise' condition were used as controls. The PNF and PASS modes of conditioning improved passive hip flexibility to a similar extent (mean 19.3% vs. baseline, intervention limb, p<0.01) but did not alter knee flexor strength (overall mean 309.681 N) or sensorimotor performance (force and positional errors: 2.38.2% and 0.487.1%). Voluntary and magnetically evoked electromechanical delays (EMDV and EMDE, respectively) were increased but to a greater extent following PASS compared to PNF (PASS: 10.8% and 16.9% lengthening of EMDV and EMDE, respectively vs. PNF: 3.2% and 6.2%, p<0.01).The attenuated change to electromechanical delay (EMD) performance during PNF conditioning suggests a preserved capability for rapid muscle activation, which is important in the maintenance of dynamic joint stability. That PNF was also equally efficacious in flexibility conditioning would suggest that this mode of flexibility training should be used over passive to help preserve dynamic joint stability capabilities at this extended and vulnerable joint position. 2013 Copyright European College of Sport Science.