Benefits of Assisted Stretching
Stretching with assistance helps enhance the stretch. You’re able to get a deeper stretch than you would be able to on your own. You can perform certain movements and target muscles you could not without assistance, making for an all-round more effective stretch.
Of course, there are proper techniques to assist a stretch—here are a few tips to make you the best quarantine partner yet.
Don’t muscle it!
Strain does not equal gain. It should be safe, easy and require minimal effort. If you feel too much resistance, it is likely that you are going beyond your partner’s natural range of motion (being too forceful could result in injury).
Listen to your partner.
Communication here is key—you never want to go beyond your partner’s comfort level. One of the reasons why we do stretches in short, repetitive motions is to gently build flexibility over the course of several repetitions. This also pumps blood flow into the muscle, allowing it to warm up.
- Take each rep gently.
- Ask your partner where they feel the stretch and if the level of intensity feels right.
It’s best to skip anything that causes discomfort. Facial expressions are also a good indication. A smile is good; grimace, probably bad....
Key things to remember.
- Hold each stretch for 2-3 seconds; reset each stretch between reps.
- Do up to 10 reps of each stretch; gently build up the flexibility over reps.
- Don’t grip too tight.
- Start with one side first (generally the tighter side) then do a full set on the other side.
- Maintain good communication with your partner.
- Lastly, smile! Hopefully you're going to get stretched next.
Stretching with kids.
With kids stuck at home, they may be feeling more of the everyday pains that you feel—neck cricks from Zoom classes and tightness from sitting at a desk for longer than usual.
Researchers have documented 'text neck', bone-like spurs in the necks of young people as a result of excessive forward head tilting over devices. By stretching muscles throughout the head, neck and shoulders, you’re able to elongate and reduce tension in areas that are tight, while also correcting the muscle's dysfunction and imbalance.
Here are a few quick tips for staying loose:
- Take a stretch break every hour. Ask one of your kids to lead the stretch. Moving once an hour is an easy way to relieve stagnant muscles.
- Name that muscle! Turn the stretching into a game and anatomy lesson in one.
- Name that stretch! While we are quite partial to the names of our stretches (Hello Hammies, Gloating Glutes, Serve the Platt*r, etc.), why not get creative while you're getting loose?