Partner Up for Better Flexibility
Welcome the final installment of our series of activities that are appropriate for all abilities and skill levels. We’d like to thank the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities for their support while we created this campaign.
For the closing week, we’ll be showcasing stretches…specifically stretches that are done with the aid of a partner. This helper can be a workout buddy or even a caregiver. The following stretches can be performed on the floor or on a table.
Performing stretches regularly is the most effective way to prevent loss of flexibility. Stretching also prevents muscle contractures and improves physical ability.
Here are three simple partner assisted stretches that can help improve your flexibility:
Hamstring stretch – Lie on your back. Have your partner lift one leg and rest your calf or ankle on their shoulder. Have them push the leg in the direction of your head, until you feel the stretch in back of your thigh. Make sure your hips stay down and don’t strain. If need be, you can slightly bend your other knee, to make the stretch more comfortable. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat other leg.
Quad stretch – Lie on your stomach. Have your partner grab your ankle and help you gently bend your leg toward your buttock, slightly lifting your upper leg of the table, until you feel a stretch in front of your thigh. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat with opposite leg. To build strength, have your partner provide resistance, while you push against their opposition for 3 to 5 seconds.
Calf stretch – Lie on your stomach. Have your partner bend one leg at a 90˚ angle, so that your shin is parallel to your body. The partner then grabs your foot with both hands, close to the heel. Have them apply gentle pressure downward on the foot front, so that they move the toes downward, creating a stretch in the back of the lower leg. Make sure your partner is controlling the foot movement from the rear of the foot, otherwise you are just stretching your instep.
That’s it for week four and that’s it for the series. We hope you enjoyed learning how to “Move it Monday,” no matter what your ability level is.
These materials are designed for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of a qualified health professional before making changes to your current diet, exercise or health regimen.