3 Partner Stretches You Can Do With a Workout Buddy
by Lindsay Tigar
After a tough workout, giving your muscles a little TLC can feel incredible! And while you can work out some of the kinks on your own, partner stretches can be even more effective. As the wellness center at the University of California, Berkeley explains, when you stretch with a partner you have the ability to use your bodies as leverage and tend to hard-to-reach sore spots.
Whether you're exercising with a partner, friend, or a family member, there's nothing like an extra hand (or foot!) to help you with your stretch session. In addition to being great for your body and your fitness progress, this extra quality time can also bring you and your workout buddy closer! The next time you hit the gym, try out these partner stretches.
1. Butterfly Stretch
When you go for a long run or do a set of squats, you'll likely feel some tension in your hips and thighs. An effective way to relieve some of this stress is to perform a butterfly stretch. Since you're doing this as a partner stretch, make sure to communicate with your buddy about your preferred intensity and pressure level, as you never want to be in pain! Here's how to do it:
- Start by sitting on the floor and bringing the bottoms of your feet together with your knees spread out. Place your hands on your ankles and bring your feet in toward you as close as possible.
- Have your partner softly push down on your legs, bringing them closer to the ground and deepening the stretch. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds.
- You can repeat this a few times and then switch positions.
2. Back Stretch
If you're looking for a partner stretch that targets your back, we've got you covered! This one is ideal for following up a full-body workout or one that focuses heavily on your shoulders, chest, or back. The stretch can help you grow stronger! Try it out:
- Sit down with your legs outstretched in front of you and your knees bent slightly.
- With your partner behind you (either standing or on their knees), lean forward over your knees.
- Use your stomach strength to bend at your hips as much as you can. Have your partner place two hands on your back and push gently as you inhale and exhale to reach further.
- When you're as far as you can go, hold for 10 seconds and breathe regularly.
- You can repeat a few times (or as many times as you find comfortable) and then switch positions.
3. Thigh Stretch
Just complete a long run? Try this partner stretch on those days when your hamstrings and the backs of your thighs need some attention:
- Lay flat on your back and lift one of your legs high up in the air.
- Have your partner lean against your leg as you rest it on their shoulder to achieve a 90-degree angle with your body.
- As you keep your hips on the ground and your leg straight, have your partner push your leg toward you until you feel a deep stretch. Hold this for a few seconds before releasing and repeating.
- Go through a few cycles, and then switch to the other side. Then have your partner take your position and help them do the same!
After finishing these partner stretches, you and your workout buddy can tackle your next gym session together! As always, please consult with a physician prior to beginning any exercise program. See full medical disclaimer here.