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Whether you are an athlete or simply a health-conscious person, you are no doubt aware that flexibility is important for exercise purposes, comfort and ease of motion in your daily life. Stretching on your own is effective, but assisted stretches provide added benefits, allowing for deeper stretches, longer holds and positions that would be difficult to reach on your own. The best assisted stretches will increase your range of motion in a safe, controlled manner.
For the best assisted shoulder stretches, your partner should stand directly behind you while you are seated. Perform the seated overhead-triceps stretch by raising your arm over your head and having your partner position your forearm behind your head, pulling down. You can change this stretch to an overhead lat stretch by pulling your wrist toward the back of your shoulder and leaning away from the stretch. Your shoulders are extremely complex joints and require significant stretching before extreme workouts.
Stretching the chest muscles in concert with the shoulder muscles promotes ease of motion in your upper body. Perform the behind-head chest stretch by placing your hands behind your head, facing forward and having your partner grasp your elbows with his knee braced against your back, pulling back on your elbows.
Perhaps no muscle causes more discomfort when strained than the groin, making a deep assisted stretch extremely beneficial. The straight-leg groin stretch requires you to lie on the floor with your legs straight up. Your partner grasps your ankles and pulls your legs apart, spreading them down toward the floor and holding the stretch.
The glutes -- the muscles of your buttocks -- are the largest muscles in your body, making an assisted glute stretch much more effective than an individual stretch. For the lying glute stretch, lie on the floor and have your partner bend your knee and hip and rotate your leg across your body. Your partner will then lean forward, applying pressure to the bent leg to stretch the glute.
Stretching intensely without a proper warm-up can cause serious muscle strains or even tears. Always perform a light cardiovascular routine prior to stretching. During individual and assisted stretches, avoid turning a deep stretch into a dangerous one. You or your partner should stretch your body to a point of mild to moderate discomfort but never moderate to severe pain. Sharp pain is an indication that you are stretching a muscle or ligament too far. If pain persists for several days after a stretching routine, consult your doctor.