Tandem Leaning - Partner Stretching
Tandem Leaning™, aka Tandem Stretching & Strengthening™, is a new form of physical interaction created by Luther Cowden and George Marquez that incorporates the basic principles of Resistance Flexibility & Strength Training. Using this method, two people partner up to simultaneously stretch and strengthen the same set of muscle groups in each other.
Tandem Leaning vs. Assisted Stretching
When two people practice partner assisted stretching, one person is the stretchee while the other person is the stretcher. This allows both people involved to direct their attention to the needs of stretchee in order to consider all of the necessary details required to create substantial upgrades in that person. Assisted stretching is the preferred method for 'serious work' involving individuals with specific needs such as athletes, performers, and individuals with serious injuries.
Tandem Leaning diverts from the path of serious work and puts the fun into stretching. It redirects the focus from being on one person to being on both people involved. It is a great way for both people to get resistance stretched and strengthened without one person feeling like they are doing all of the work. This method allows both people to reap the benefits of RFST in half the time.
Before You Get Started
Tandem Leaning is best suited for those who are already experienced in RFST, have come to understand the philosophy behind the system, and know how to properly resist while stretching and strengthening. Those individuals who are looking for rehabilitative work, have severely limited range of motion, or injuries should work in private sessions with a certified Meridian Flexibility trainer to work the 'kinks' out before practicing Tandem Leaning.
It's best to be suited with someone who is of similar stature to you. Height, flexibility, and strength all need to be taken into account when selecting a tandem partner.
Tandem Stretching & Strengthening is based on the principles of RFST in that it utilizes isometric, concentric, and eccentric contractions. The difference is that maximal resistance must only be used sparingly. There will be certain points throughout the movement where you and your tandem partner need to give and take with the resistance in order to make room for movement, similar to self stretching. As such, Tandem Stretching & Strengthening is more often described using the term "lean" in place of "resist."
Care must be taken to keep the lines of communication open. It can be difficult for one person to know the limits of the other person since both people involved are simultaneously leaning into or away from each other. Verbal cues are necessary for both people involved to determine the appropriate direction, speed, duration, range, number of repetitions, amount of lean (resistance), and position used throughout the movement. It's always important to realize that if it doesn't feel good, you should probably not do it, or you should change the variables involved to make it feel good. It's all about feeling good!
Anchor Lean vs. Reciprocal Lean
There are two main actions in this method: anchor lean (anchor action) and reciprocal lean (reciprocal action).
Anchor Lean is where one person involved plants their body firmly into the ground and acts as an anchor that the other person is then free to lean away from while stretching and strengthening. The anchor's main duty is to hold steady ground and make sure that their partner feels safe enough to lean away maximally.
This form of Tandem Stretching & Strengthening is similar to partner assisted stretching in that one person is receiving the benefit of the movement through the assistance of the other. It is slightly different from assisted stretching however in that the person leaning away is doing most of the work on their own since the anchor is simply holding still. You can therefore think of anchor leaning as assisted self stretching.
If desired, the leaner can ask the anchor to move their arms at appropriate times throughout the movement which provides a greater stretch for the leaner and places more responsibility on the anchor.
Reciprocal Lean is where both people involved are stretching and strengthening the same set of muscle groups in each other. The two tandem partners become one resistance body where they mirror each other's actions.
Playing with Resistance
The examples shown here are only a few of the many that are continually being developed. As you practice, you will begin to see that it all comes down to playing with resistance. Tandem Leaning shows you how you can creatively use resistance. Resistance is all around us so we might as well have fun with it!
So have at it, and if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me or post a message on the Flexible Strength Forum.
Lean in and lean away!