Assisted stretching allows for what cannot be obtained through self stretching: maximal force. As you progress in your resistance flexibility and strength training, you will eventually need to use maximal force in order to achieve maximal results.
It takes at least twice as much force to resistance stretch a muscle as it does to strengthen it. So if you strengthen your bicep with 50 pounds, it takes at least 100 pounds of force to resistance stretch it. Areas of the body that house accumulated dense fascia and scar tissue may have fascial resistance that is up to 10 times greater than the muscular strength! This is where help from another person (or a team of people) becomes an essential part of your training program.
One-on-one assisted stretching provides results far greater than what you can achieve through self stretching. Two-on-one, three-on-one, or four-on-one assisted stretching provides even greater benefits in less time. Being assisted by multiple people allows maximal resistance and tension to be generated, greater stability in all vectors of movement, and more sophisticated movements.
Efficient Distribution of Energy
Self stretching teaches you how to harness muscular tension and fascial resistance through the use of use sub-maximal force. Partner assisted stretching allows you to generate maximal tension and resistance with the help of another person. This not only provides you with a wonderful stretch but also provides a beneficial workout for you and your assister. Your assisters are strengthened as they stretch you and are stretched as they strengthen you. Your resistance is efficiently utilized instead of being pumped into a workout machine which stands to gain no benefit from your hard work.
Self stretching allows you to gain an internal perspective on your body and your self while assisted stretching allows another person to offer you the external perspective that you cannot get on your own. Practicing both self stretching and assisted stretching ensures that you cover all of your bases with an internal and external profile of your body and state of being.
All Vectors of Movement
Aside from the benefit of being able to use maximal force, you are also able to be resistance flexibility and strength trained in every angle and direction. Most of the self stretches target only one or two vectors at a time. Getting stretched by others allows all three vectors of the proximal joints to be targeted simultaneously: adduction/abduction, flexion/extension, and internal/external rotation. Extra hands also allow the vectors of the distal joints to be targeted with which creates an even greater and more comprehensive workout.
You and your assisters can zoom in on a particular muscle group and first determine the strength and flexibility of each of these vectors and then provide the proper training required to upgrade that area of your body. Assisted flexibility and strength training provides a level of sophisticated and customized movements for your body that goes beyond traditional exercise equipment and personal training.
Action Specific Training
Partner assisted stretching allows you to balance your asymmetries by first profiling your life activities and experiences to identify your habitual movement patterns. Then you and your assister can resistance stretch the muscles that are constantly overworked and strengthen the muscles that are often ignored. This allows for sport specific training along with training for any other type of activity that requires frequent repetitive movements. The immediate result is a release of tenseness, pain, and stress along with gains in flexibility, strength, posture, health, and mental fitness. The ultimate result is an overall increase in performance.
Assisted Stretching Example
Resistance Flexibility Training
To stretch, begin in position one and activate your hamstrings by continuously kicking your thigh and leg down toward the ground as your partner lifts your leg up.
Resistance Strength Training
To strengthen, begin in position two and activate your hamstrings by continuously kicking your thigh and leg down toward the ground as your partner slows you down.