PNF protocol for differing sessions.

Is the protocol different for speed days than the tempo days? I’ve been treating them differently as in shorter PNF holds for about 2 seconds and about 3 reps per stretch on speed days and longer holds on the tempo days. Charlie?

Excellent question! Minor protocol modifications in PNF pre-workout can make a lot of impact…

Depends on the purpose and whether you are talking about the beginning or end of the session.
If you’re thinking of increasing ROM with longer holds, then the most favourable time is the end of the tempo session. It is likely the stretching at the end of the speed session is for restoring existing ROM.
That can be the ROM that was present at the beginning of the session as opposed to that which might be normal overall. The decision on what to go for depends on recovery status, overall workload from the phase, individual session workload, and the intensity of the just completed session.

Personally, I’ve performed PNF on speed days as more of a “warm-up” and evaluation activity. The PNF is performed in a way that is constantly evaluating the tension in the athlete’s muscles. Charlie has often referred to stretching as a checking activity - determining where problems may exist and may need to be addressed before entering speed work.

On tempo days, I’ve used it more post-tempo workout. After tempo, the athlete is warm due to increased circulation. Prior to tempo, there is not the same need to mobilize muscles and soft-tissue because the demands are much lower. But a warmer body after tempo allows you to spend more time on range of motion and adaptive work – much like you would spend more effort on therapy on non-speed days.

In the weight room or in rehab settings, I’ve often used PNF stretching as a simple warm-up and strengthening activity. Progressively greater resistance over 3-6 reps works well to warm-up the muscle for greater demands in the weight room. In rehab settings, where recruitment dysfunctions are always an issue, I’ve used PNF as a muscle re-education activity. In both cases, it gives me the power to determine how much load the athlete can take at any given repetition – based on what I feel.

As Charlie has always suggested, “Stretch out your feelings and trust the force.” Or was that someone else…?

I’m referring, primarily, to pnf in the warm-ups. How much or rather how long are the holds/# of reps prior to speed work vs. that before tempo work or is there a difference as I suspect there is?

We’ve been holding approx. 2 seconds on speed days and what concerns me is one of the kids mentioned feeling lethargic after the PNF and before our hill work. That has me a bit concerned that maybe I need to fine-tune the protocols even further than what I’ve tried to do, previously.

I usually just take up the slack in the muscle and have the athlete push back as you see on the GPP vid example- there’s no real hold- it’s always moving. i prefer that at the beginning of the session

Got you, thanks.

I just began to realize, recently, that if you take up the slack fairly gradually that the protective mechanism of the muscle(spindles or GTO, I suppose?) does not activate or turn on to any great degree and will allow more of the slack to be taken up on the reps.

Not that I was doing explosive PNF or anything :slight_smile: but reducing a little speed off of the “taking up the slack” tends to induce a greater ROM on the reps or so it seems.

I’m probably among the last to realize this but the PNF for post workout stretches is a great addition to those chronically tight individuals. Thanks to No. 2 and CF for the advice. I used it today with two people and it seemed to work well.

Charlie, are the three PNF stretches shown in the GPP dvd sufficient for post workout PNF?

Though, I know you don’t really like PNF for the hams during the warm-up, would it be good idea to target the hams for those with tightness there after the workout?

Do you prefer slightly bent or straight leg ham stretches?

Also how long are such stretches typically held and for about how many reps? Thanks.

For sure I’d use the ham stretches after. I usually secure the leg with a slight bend in it and have the athlete slowly straighten the leg before pushing back.
The number of reps is flexible, depending on the amount of force the particular athlete feels comfortable delivering on rep one. Less force means tighter hams and requires more reps, starting with very easy resistance and observing the athlete’s gradual increase in force, rep after rep, till he/she reaches or at least approaches their normal. I’d cap it at 10 reps, and, if you haven’t got full range by then, leave it to another day.

Charlie, how do you recommend one trains for permenant flexibility improvement after their session? e.g Type of stretch, duration, reps and intensity.
Right now, after every tempo session I do a 1min static stretch for each muscle group and again before bed. what do you think of this?

I would concentrate efforts on increasing ROM after tempo sessions and restoration of existing ROM on speed days. Stretching as you suggest is fine as long as stretching before bed (away from any warm-up) is extremely gentle. Also remember that you have an extended period of time to achieve increased ROM so don’t get too aggressive.

Thanks charlie

Once the athlete can straighten that leg and is now receiving the stretch on the ham, should that position be held for a number of seconds?

I actually had one of the two guys hold that position for about 6-10 seconds and then had him try to pull the straight leg down to the ground under mild resistance. Is the last part advisable or even necessary or should I, after they can straighten and hold(?), have them re-bend the leg to push the knee back a bit further before attempting to re-straighten it for rep 2 and so on?

Just wondering how to best do this stretch. Is it straighten and hold that position and then rebend further back and straighten, etc. or Bend knee, straighten leg, hold and then push the straight leg down to the ground or what exactly? Thanks in advance.

Just checking again.

Option one would prob work best for increasing ROM after training.

Thanks Charlie.

Another question I have related to(I know, it’s a never ending line of questions!) the hip flexor/high quad stretch you are pictured doing with Angella I. in Speed Trap. Is that one you could also implement as a PNF stretch?

Further to this discussion, are they any issues with doing light PNF stretching on athletes age 10-13?

Yes, we did PNF that way- carefully.

For those who need the PNF stretches post workout, is it necessary or advantageous for them to also do some static flex. work after?