ERA Sequence to Improve Hip, Knee AND Ankle Mobility

A great bang for your buck CRAC/PNF technique that hits every lower body joint.

By Coach E

crac pnf technique improve

Hey, hey PM followers.

Before we get to the video, we’ve got to understand some terminology used in the title of this post.

First off, CRAC stands for “contract relax antagonist contract”, which I always found cumbersome, so those who have the Hip Flexibility Solution program  know it as DCR, which stands for “Dual-Contract Relax”.

Either way, the technique involves getting to end range in a stretch then going through cycles of contract/relax with both the muscles being lengthened (agonist) AND those at their shortened range (antagonist).

Building strength at end range is a critical element to gaining flexibility and mobility and more importantly – KEEPING the gains you make.

Next up, PNF stands for “proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation”.

PNF is often misunderstood as consisting of just contract-relax stretching, but PNF includes many other methods such as rhythmic stabilization and slow reversals – other great techniques for improving function and movement.

Finally, ERA stands for “End Range Activation Sequence” and is what I personally use to describe any activation technique that works muscles/joints at their end ranges.

Today’s example works 3 different joints at end range: hips, knees and ankles, specifically in their flexed (shortened) range.

All Precision Movement courses make good use of ERAs because that’s how we create LASTING MOBILITY – getting strong at end ranges so our neuromuscular system knows we can use and stabilize that range.

Compare that to static stretching where no strength is built and what happens when we gain flexibility without corresponding gains in strength?

INSTABILITY, which the neuromuscular system (rightly) sees as dangerous, thus it simply tightens the muscles back up.

Now that you understand the terminology and background, let’s talk about the technique we’re going to go through today…

I call this technique “Triple Flexion” because it’s basically the opposite of the movement pattern known as “triple extension”, which is when you basically jump and extend ankles, knees and hips in the Olympic lifts.

crac pnf technique

However, unlike Olympic weightlifters, we’re using the technique to improve mobility, not power, specifically for greater hip flexion, knee flexion, and ankle dorsiflexion.

Your program is one of the best programs I have ever used to improve my athleticism. My hips are looser than they have ever been, my core is getting a lot stronger and more flexible, and the level of pain in my hips and knees has almost totally diminished. I am expecting the level of pain to be gone completely by the end of the program.

Michael F.

Check out the Hip Flexibility Solution here.

So if you need any gains in mobility in these areas or you want to improve squat/lunge mobility, you’ll love this move.

ERA Sequence: The “Triple Flexion” Technique

1 cycle of the technique is:

  • Get into the deep stretch
  • Push up for 5 sec, activating extensors (breathe)
  • Relax for 5 sec (breathe MORE)
  • Pull down for 5 sec, activating flexors
  • Relax for 5 sec

Do 1-2 cycles per side and you’re good to go.

About the Author

Eric Wong (aka Coach E) is the founder of Precision Movement and has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo. He's been a coach since 2005 and spent his early career training combat athletes including multiple UFC fighters and professional boxers. He now dedicates himself to helping active people eliminate pain and improve mobility. He lives in Toronto (Go Leafs Go!) with his wife and two kids and drinks black coffee at work and IPAs at play. Click here to learn more about Eric.