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FLEXIBILITY | PART 3: Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

Updated: May 18

"Poof! That was like magic!"

This was the exclamation I heard from a dancer after showing them a simple, yet highly effective, Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) sequence.

Of course, it's not magic. It's the science of human movement.

Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) is a stretching technique that has shown to have a positive impact on improving active and passive range of motions by increasing a muscle's elasticity. By contracting and relaxing specific muscles groups, we're able to relax and lengthen the muscle spindles, improving overall flexibility.

Two types of PNF stretching can be beneficial for Irish dancers: autogenic and reciprocal inhibition.

Autogenic Inhibition: Contracting and relaxing the muscle being stretched.

Reciprocal Inhibition: Contracting and relaxing the antagonist muscle group to the one you want to stretch.

Try the below PNF sequence while keeping in mind a few tips.

  • Gently move through the movements - nothing should be too intense.

  • Focus on your breath, especially your exhalations.

  • Complete 4-8 reps of each exercise to start.

  • Consistency is key.



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