proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, PNF, range of motion gain, flexibility


Context: Some researchers have suggested that an alteration of stretch perception could be responsible for the success of the contract-relax (CR) stretch, a stretch technique derived from proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Objective: This study was conducted to determine if the alteration of the stretch perception is a possible explanation for the range of motion (ROM) gains of the CR stretch. Participants: Eighteen subjects performed two stretches in randomized order: the slow stretch and the CR stretch. Main Outcome Measure: The stretch intensity was controlled. The stretch force was measured and compared between the slow stretch and CR stretch. Results: There was a significant difference between the stretch force that could be applied in the PNF stretch (126.0 N) and the slow stretch (108.4 N); P = 0.00086. The average stretch tolerance progressively increased with successive trials from 120.6 N in the first trial to 132.4 N in the fourth trial. Conclusion: The alteration of stretch perception plays a role in the success of the CR form of PNF stretching. At least four repetitions of the CR stretch are recommended to get the greatest ROM gain.

Original Publication Citation

Mitchell UH, Myrer JW, Hopkins JT, Hunter I, Feland JB, & Hilton SC. (27). "Acute Stretch Perception Alteration Contributes to the Success of the PNF "Contract Relax" Stretch". The Journal of Sport Rehabilitation, 16(2), 85-92.

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.




Life Sciences


Exercise Sciences