How to stretch with a partner in 5 easy moves
It is January, and all the world seems to think it is time to get moving. One way to get moving is to enlist the help of a friend or buddy to workout with, which can add greatly to the fun (and accountability!). Recently, I tripped over a partner yoga workshop, and it was super interesting to see how much farther and deeper I could stretch knowing I had a buddy to help me relax more deeply into the move.
Stretching often gets skimped on or overlooked, and don’t get stuck on the fact that this came from a yoga workshop. Just breathe deeply and grant yourself the ability to relax for once!
Here are 5 basic floor moves… you might be surprised to discover how very simple moves gives you lots of bang for your stretching buck. Try holding each move for the magic release and reset time of ninety seconds.
Stay tuned as we will get into the “fancier” moves next time!
1. Deep belly breathing.
I often remind my clients that their rib cages are three dimensional and thus they must breathe into the front belly, the side belly, and the back belly. The back seems to be the trickiest to expand for most, but when you are sitting back to back with someone their back gives you something to breathe against. Thus, you have some kinesthetic feedback. I thought just that part was really cool; plus then you can feel them breathe too.
You don’t have to have your palms up. Try just quietly resting them in your lap. Palms up allows your shoulders to roll back slightly, which opens the whole shoulder girdle area.
2. Neck Stretch
Turn your head to the side, and then rest the back of your head on your partner’s opposite shoulder. Wow! That really opens up the front of the neck in a new fun way. Be sure to do both sides.
3. Chest Stretch
Reach your arms straight out to the side and put your palms together. Have one buddy pull the other’s arms back gently to stretch the chest muscles. Be sure to tell your partner how you are doing so that you can increase the stretch by pulling forward more, or releasing the pull. Breathe!
4. Shoulder and Chest Stretch
Now raise both arms up in the air, and again have one partner pull the other’s arms back. Play with the angles with your arms….maybe straight up isn’t comfortable, but you can get away with a 45 degree angle. Great! Do that!
5. Side Stretch
Keeping one arm in the air, pull back and over one shoulder adding in the sides of the rib cage to the stretch. Again, allow your partner to take you a bit further and deeper into the stretch to get more out of it! They will move you places you might not move on your own- that makes it fun!
I understand that none of these are rocket science. The new and fun part was to try them with someone, and if that someone is your sweetie (Valentine’s Day is coming faster than you know!) then all the better. That gives you a teensy bit more couple time, but these are very versatile and work great at the gym with your running buddy!
Let me know in the comments below how using a partner went for you. Hope you like it!
Coming soon: footie high fives!