Q. How often should I stretch?
A. The body becomes good at what it does regularly. If you stretch regularly your body gets good at stretching. So you should stretch as often has you can without making yourself overly tired and sore.
If you are stretching regularly and start to feel like you hate the thought of stretching, or you are starting to pick up injuries, you should probably stretch less. Otherwise, go for it.
Q. Do I have to do PNF to get into the splits?
A. No. There are many ways to stretch and PNF is just one of them. Admittedly, it is probably the most efficient way to increase flexibility, but it is not the holy grail. Stretch regularly and your flexibility will improve.
Q. How often can I do PNF stretching?
A. The answer to this depends on the intensity level of your PNF stretches. If you go to a physiotherapist for treatment they might do PNF with you every day, but the style of PNF they use involves short low intensity contractions.
Most popular stretching methods advocate longer and stronger contractions, which are more like weight training. As a result, it is usually advised that you have at least 1 day of rest between PNF sessions.
So you must make a judgment about how much effort you are putting in, and how soon you feel you can attempt another PNF session. I would suggest you start with 2 sessions per week, then increase the number over a few weeks until you find the optimum level for you. Also, just because you are not doing PNF one day, it doesn’t mean you should avoid stretching. You can still do light static stretches.
Q. Is PNF safe?
A. This is a bit like asking if cars are safe. If you drive carefully, cars are safe. If you drive recklessly, cars are dangerous. The same applies to PNF. It is a fast and safe way to gain flexibility provided you use it correctly. It is also the quickest way to get injured if you work too hard and use it too often. The devil is in the detail.
Q. Can lunges and horse stance increase the flexibility in my groin?
A. Yes. The various types of lunges and the horse stance affect the flexibility of the groin. The nice thing about these stances is they also increase your strength and stamina in addition to your flexibility. Holding these stances for prolonged periods of time will significantly improve your flexibility and conditioning. Another good point is they do not require a specific warm up. Simply enter the stance and gradually increase the depth. You can repeat these stances throughout the day, but be careful not to overdo it and burn yourself out.