The splits are one of the most popular stretching goals people have. Splits can help you to unlock a great number of awesome moves, build a killer Instagram profile, inspire others, and serve as a super impressive party trick lol!
It can be frustrating though when you are just a few (or much more) inches away from the floor, but just can’t seem to make the touchdown. It’s common to hit a plateau in your splits training. In order to break through it, you may need to switch things up in your training. Try incorporating these 5 tips into your stretching routine.
1. STRETCH YOUR HIP FLEXORS AND QUADS
Front splits are 50% hamstrings and 50% hip flexors and quads. Hamstring stretches are harder for most people. If your hip flexors and quads are not flexible, your body will have to mostly rely on your hamstrings in a split position. This will create unnecessary pressure and will make your splits unbearable to hold for an extended period of time. Don't neglect hip flexors and quads in your training and spend some time in a lunge, kneeling lunge, and an over-lunge before attempting a split.
If you are a beginner, make sure you use yoga blocks (books or even a piece of furniture) to extend your reach and get extra support in these positions. Visit STRETCHIT Instagram for tips and exercises.
2. ENGAGE YOUR FRONT QUAD AND YOUR BACK GLUTE
Our muscles work in pairs: the muscle you're stretching (the agonist) works together with the muscle on the opposite side of the body (the antagonist). Engaging the antagonist (the opposite side muscle) will help release and stretch the agonist (the target muscle).
In a split position we are looking at two pairs: (1) the front hamstring (target) and the quad (opposite) and (2) the back hip flexor/quad (target) and the glute (opposite). While in a split, engage your front quad and your back glute and see how it changes your stretch.
3. MOVE IN YOUR SPLITS POSITION
Rock side to side. Tuck your back toes and start extending and bending your back leg. Point and flex your front foot. These movements will distract your body from the uncomfortable sensations and will make holding the split easier. Also - don't forget to breathe!
Give your body some time to rest - you shouldn’t consistently stretch your splits more than 2-3 times a week. Do some light stretching on your rest days with STRETCHIT Recovery and Express classes. Use a foam roller and take baths to help your body recover faster. If you feel exhausted, pause the training altogether for at least a week or two. You may surprise yourself when you get back to the splits again.
5. TAKE A FREE STRETCHIT SPLITS CLASS
Take a FREE Splits Class for Beginners or a FREE Splits Class for Intermediate/Advanced on the STRETCHIT website or the STRETCHIT app. You don’t need a subscription to watch those classes. For all-access experience, we offer a 7-day FREE trial so you can try STRETCHIT for a week before signing up.