Form into pairs, possibly with someone of similar size.
By way of demonstration, ask a volunteer to stand facing you and hold each other’s hands.
As a pair, your task is to take turns stepping in and then out of the gap formed between your co-joined arms.
One person shall step into the gap first, and then step out of it, effectively twisting your co-joined arms.
Then, the other person follows suit to step into the gap, and out of it to untwist the co-joined arms.
Encourage partners to experiment by taking turns at who steps in first, and entering from different sides.
Then, if time permits, invite people to swap partners.
How To Play Narrative
Looking for something to physically challenge your group? This could be it.
Ask your group to form into pairs. Technically, it should not matter the comparative height and shape of each person, but this exercise can be more successful for two people of similar size.
By way of demonstration, invite a volunteer to stand with you. Face them and then hold hands, whereby your left hand will grasp their right hand, and vice-versa.
As a pair, your task is to take turns stepping in and then out of the gap formed between your co-joined arms. This seems easy enough when you say it, but performing it is a whole other thing.
Your first task as a pair is to invite one of you to step (with both feet) over one set of co-joined arms inside the gap formed between you and your partner, and then continue by stepping over the other set of co-joined arms.
In effect, at the conclusion of these two steps, the partners will have fully twisted their co-joined arms.
To assist the stepping process will involve one or both partners having to lower their arms so that the active partner can step over the co-joined arms.
Then, the second, perhaps more difficult task is for the other partner to follow suit, and perform the same stunt, ie step in with both feet inside the gap formed by the co-joined arms, and continue stepping out to untwist their arms.
This second step is significantly more difficult because one must (a) identify where the gap is situated, and (b) attempt to place their feet and whole body into and out of this space.
The effect of this second move is to untangle the knot caused by the first person.
Phew, that was tough to write, but I assure you is a lot more difficult to perform.
Give it go.
This is a physically, and possibly mentally, tough stunt to perform, so encourage effort and persistence wherever possible.
For the more dextrous among your group, encourage partners to take turns going first, and to step in from a different side because this often ramps up the challenge.
When ready, ask people to swap partners and start anew.
Practical Leadership Tips
Be sure to alert people to the possibility that some pairs may experience discomfort during the exercise. Give everyone permission at any point to let go of their partner’s hands if things start to get too uncomfortable.
Given the physical demands of this exercise, be sure to present it at an appropriate time with a physically-prepared group.
Wring-Out Stretch gets its name from the action of wringing-out water from a wet cloth. At various points during the exercise, it will feel as if one’s arms are twisted around each other as if being wrung out.
You could integrate Wring-Out Stretch as part of a well-designed SEL program to help your group make caring and constructive choices about personal behaviour and social interactions across different situations.
Specifically, this activity offers ample opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Identifying Personal, Cultural & Linguistic Assets
Anticipating & Evaluating the Consequences of One’s Actions
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing of enjoying a good stretch.
In a small way, you could argue that the focus and care required to interact and engage physically with others in this particular stretch may speak to the benefits of having developed a set of supportive and healthy behavioural norms in advance. Or, if not, you could use these less-than-desired interactions or outcomes to explore what sorts of behaviours your group would prefer to see. For example, you could invite each pair to reflect on the level of safety consciousness that was demonstrated during the exercise and relate this to a set of observed impacts on others.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Wring-Out Stretch could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Blindfolded: Perform the whole exercise without vision, from start to end.
Partner Twist: Take a look at Windmill Stretch for another fun, twisted-like exercise.
Physically-challenging stretching game for partners.
Simple, yet powerful jumping exercise for pairs.
Useful Framing Ideas
When you pick up a wet cloth or towel, one of the first things you do is wring it out, right? Imagine that all of you are dripping wet right now. I’m going to show you a quick exercise to help you wring yourselves out…
Reflection Tips & Strategies
Coupled with one or more reflection strategies, here are some sample questions you could use to process your group’s experience after playing this fun, energetic game:
What did you notice during the exercise?
What challenges did you encounter? How did you respond?
Did you feel like giving up? Did you, or did you struggle on? Why?
What might this exercise tell us about successfully working with others?
It’s hard to recall, but looking at my notes from my initial training internship with Project Adventure, I can say with precision that I have known the Wring-Out Stretch for more than 30 years. From whom I learned it, I am a lot less certain.