According to Hailee Bland Walsh, an ACE-certified personal trainer and the owner of City Gym in Kansas City, pectoralis muscles, hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes easily tighten up when underutilised. Once these muscles are stagnant for long periods, lower and upper back pain can occur.
But thanks to Walsh's stretches below, I've learned that teaming up in the fight against aches and pains is the way to go.
Partner Pec Stretch
Partner A: Kneel or sit on the floor with your back straight and chest high. Place your hands behind your head and interlace your fingers.
Partner B: Stand behind partner A and place your hands on the inside of their elbows. Gently pull partner A's elbows towards you and hold for 10 seconds.
Partner B: Gently bring partner A's elbows towards each side of their head — keep your hands on their elbows.
Partner A: With your elbows, begin to push into partner B's hands.
Partner B: Create resistance by gently pushing back on partner A's elbows. Hold here for 10 seconds.
Partner A: Pull your elbows together and hold for 30 seconds.
Partner A and B: Swap roles and repeat.
Straddle Fold Stretch
Partner A and B: Sit facing your partner with both legs straddled out wide with the soles of your feet touching. Extend your arms out in front of you and grab hands.
Partner A: Lean back slowly, gently pulling partner B towards you.
Partner B: Allow yourself to fold forward towards partner A, keeping a small amount of bend in your knees to prevent overstretching your lower back.
Partner A and B: Hold this position for 30 seconds before switching roles and repeating once.
Figure 4 Stretch
Partner A: Laying on your back, take your left ankle and cross it over your right knee.
Partner B: Kneeling in front of partner A, place the bottom of their right foot on your chest area. Gently use your weight to press partner A's right knee towards their chest.
Partner A and B: Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to one minute before repeating with partner A's other foot. Then, swap roles and repeat once.
Supine Hamstring Stretch
Partner A: Lay on your back with your feet extended in front of you.
Partner B: Kneel at partner A's feet, softly lifting partner A's right leg straight up from the hip, and rest it on your right shoulder. Gently press forward.
Partner A: Once you feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg, have partner B hold your leg in that position. Make sure there is a small amount of bend in the knee, keep your hips on the ground, and be mindful not to overstretch.
Partner A and B: Hold this position for 30 seconds before repeating with partner A's left leg. Then, swap roles and repeat once.