Simple oversights that will hold you back from your goals.
Splits are one of the most sought after flexibility goals. Not only are they a great party trick, but splits are good for increasing your body’s range of motion and balance. Although everyone’s progress moves differently, it’s important that we aren’t making it harder for us to achieve the splits. Here are 5 mistakes that will keep you from reaching the touchdown:
1. LACK OF CONSISTENCY
If you want to achieve your splits, we recommend stretching intently 2-3 times a week and be consistent with your training. With stretching, your nervous system is in control. Scientific studies have shown that improvements in flexibility are not necessarily structural changes in your body’s muscles or tendons, but rather an increased stretch tolerance caused by adaptations in our nervous system. Your mind needs to get used to the idea that splitting your legs is ok and safe, in order to let go. It will only do so if you make stretching a habit.
Similar to strength training, your body needs time to recover. If you feel tense or sore days after an intense training session, that means that you went too far. Give yourself time to recover or focus on stretching a different area (e.g. backbends) for a few days or even for a week or two. Giving yourself a break will facilitate your progress in the long-term.
3. LACK OF MAINTENANCE
Flexibility requires maintenance. After the touchdown, you need to keep reminding your body (and your mind) that splitting is safe. You can cut down the intensity of your splits training (unless you want to achieve oversplits) but you need to actually revisit the splits at least 2 times a week. Shorter full-body stretch training sessions will also help you maintain an increased range of motion and feel good!
Injuries (and especially hamstring injuries) can postpone your split touchdown for weeks or even months. Always warm-up before attempting the splits and don’t push yourself too hard. Keeping the discomfort level around 5 out of 10 can help ensure that you are stretching safely and not causing stress to your ligaments. If you experience dull discomfort, you’re likely doing it right! If there’s a sharp, burning pain, that’s your body telling you to back off and go a little easier.
5. IMPROPER OR INEFFICIENT GUIDANCE
Taking a stretching class will help you achieve your splits goals faster. E.g. when it comes to front splits, many people tend to rely heavily on hamstrings and ignore hip flexors and quads. This creates imbalance in the body and may lead to injuries. A professional flexibility coach will make sure you’re stretching the correct muscles and will explain to you how to do it correctly.
The Front Splits Challenge on the StretchIt app is a balanced 30-day training program that includes splits training and full-body recovery sessions. We’ve recently updated the program to include the NEW Beginner classes and added an Absolute Beginner level to make the Challenge accessible to people with very little or no stretching experience. If you’ve been working on your splits for a while, check out Beginner or Intermediate levels. We guarantee that after completing the Challenge you’ll significantly improve or even get your splits. Good luck with your training!