The middle split position (also known as a ‘center split’) requires you to extend both legs out wide as close to a straight line as you can. In this split, you’re aiming to hit a 180 degree angle with your ankles, knees and hips all in alignment.
There are many benefits to stretching your middle split. This position helps open up your hips, works on your core muscles and strengthens your glutes and inner thighs. In this article, we’ve laid out 5 common mistakes that can hold you back from your middle split touchdown. Read on to make sure you’re training your middle split safely and efficiently.
1. Only Working on Your Straddle
A straddle is where you are seated on the ground with your knees pointing up. In the middle split, your pelvis is parallel to the floor, your hips, knees, and ankles are all in one line, and both knees face forward. A middle split has both the same position and joint orientation as the straddle, but it’s a switched use of gravity.
While working on your straddle definitely benefits you and improves your flexibility, the middle split position is more efficient, since gravity is pulling you directly into your split. If the middle split is too intense for you, bend one leg to 90 degrees into a half-split, or bend both legs to 90 degrees into a froggie position.
2. Inflicting Too Much Pain
No pain no gain is a false statement when it comes to stretching. Keeping the discomfort level around 5 out of 10 instead of higher can help ensure that you are stretching safely and not causing stress to your ligaments.
Instead of struggling to maintain your the middle split, do a half-split or froggie (as described above), or even substitute it with a side lunge, "flunge" (half lunge half froggie), or supine straddle with legs on the wall.
3. Ignoring Modifications
Using props (yoga blocks, pillows or books) is crucial when it comes to safe and efficient training. In your middle split, half-split, or froggie, placing the blocks over your knees will ease on the gravity and provide extra support for you. Placing blocks under your hands will help you stay higher without putting unnecessary stress on your body.
4. Repeating the Same Exercises Daily
Your body will adapt to the exercises you perform too often and you'll stop progressing. To prevent plateauing you need to create muscle confusion. Once you become too comfortable in an exercise, switch up your routine and / or increase intensity. Aim at challenging your body with each training session.
5. Not Getting the Help You Need
Unless you're determined to figure it out yourself and are willing to spend days (if not weeks) searching for good stretching routines, get help from a professional. Join our dedicated Middle Split Challenge, or choose between multiple flexibility and health programs available on the STRETCHIT app. If you ever have any questions about your training, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck and happy stretching!