Do you dream of being able to do the splits? Have you been doing stretches and working out for months but haven’t seen any progress? If so, this article is for you!
In most sports and activities, flexibility (the ability to stretch) is an essential quality. Even in situations where stretching isn’t directly relevant to your performance, flexibility can help prevent injury. For example, there are countless gymnasts who sustained injuries that ended their careers early because they lacked the proper flexibility.
1. Stretch Every Single Day
If you want to be able to do the splits faster, you should stretch every day. Stretching your muscles will help them relax and lengthen so that you can bend yourself into graceful positions. You should stretch before and after you exercise because the muscles are already warm and pliable. Stretching after a workout helps limber the muscles and get rid of lactic acid build-up which causes soreness.
Stretching is good for people who are participating in sports that require flexibility like gymnastics, dance, diving, and martial arts. It is also good for people who just want to improve their posture or even just have a better range of motion in their bodies.
It isn’t hard to find time to stretch especially if you work at a desk all day long. Before getting up from your seat, try stretching your arms and hands as well as your back and neck. Throughout the day try standing up occasionally from your desk and stretching your legs by taking a few steps backwards, with each leg extended out behind you at about a 45 degree angle with your toes pointed forward on the floor.
2. Stretch For The Splits In Both Directions
You should stretch for the splits in both directions. Stretching one way makes it easier but stretches your muscles unevenly and makes it harder for you to stretch in the other direction. It’s best to stretch in both directions.
There are forward splits and horizontal splits – our goal is to be able to do both of these poses.
In my experience stretching for the splits in both directions is much more effective. That’s because if you stretch only in one direction and try to go deeper into your stretch every time, you’ll eventually reach a certain point where your muscles will be able to go no further.
However, if you’re stretching for the splits in both directions you can always go deeper into your stretch because each side of your body is independently stretching and strengthening itself at a much greater rate than if you were only stretching one side at a time. So doing both sides of your body at once means that you’ll get stronger faster.
2a. What About Standing Splits?
Don’t forget about the standing splits! Use a door frame, vertical pillar or pole dancing pole to stretch for the splits in the vertical position.
You can stretch your muscles in different positions to achieve the same benefits.
3. Stretch With A Partner
One of the best ways to achieve the splits is by stretching with a partner, especially if you’re trying to achieve it quickly. It’s easy to get injured if you try to force yourself into a stretch you’re not ready for.
But if you have someone guiding you in the right way, stretching with a partner can be very helpful. This way, they can give you feedback when to go deeper and also help you stay safe while doing so.
Several years ago, I was in a dance class where stretches were central to the curriculum. We were given stretches to do on our own, but then we’d pair up and stretch each other further than we could on our own.
The result was more efficient stretching that also felt better because we had someone else supporting our bodies while we stretched them.
4. Use Flexibility Aids
Many people use flexibility aids to improve their flexibility.
Stretch bands and other flexibility aids are some of the most popular products on the market today, and for good reason!
Some of them are fun, some of them are inexpensive, and some of them even use scientific principles to make you more flexible.
You can stretch almost anywhere, anytime, so it’s easy to work your flexibility into your daily routine.
The most popular of these are stretch bands, which usually consist of an anchored fabric loop that you can slip your foot into and a long, stretchy strap that stretches when your foot does.
The device will typically come with a step-by-step guide to help you use it properly.
5. Use Yoga Blocks
Yoga blocks are awesome for stretching with. You can put them under your legs to increase the stretch without putting additional strain on your muscles.
They also make a great addition to your home gym or yoga workout area without breaking the bank.
6. Stretch While Watching TV
When you’re watching casual TV shows or on a Netflix Binge, why not use this as an opportunity to stretch for the splits at the same time – multi-tasking!
I love sitting watching my favorite TV shows, sat on the floor on on my yoga mat in a straddle position holding it for long, deep stretches.
It can be easy to get bored if you’re just stretching in silence, so having the TV on in the background gives you something else to keep your mind occupied while you work towards your flexibility goals.
7. Stretch Immediately After A Bath Or Shower
Stretch after you take a bath or shower. Your muscles and joints are already loosened up from being warm and wet for a while, so your range of motion is greater than it would be at any other time of the day. This means that the stretch will be deeper and more effective.
When you gently stretch right after a bath or shower, here’s what happens: blood flows more freely throughout your body as your muscles are still warm from the hot water.
This allows the muscle fibers to loosen up more easily. The increased blood flow also increases your supply of oxygen and nutrients, which makes your muscles that much more flexible. Your joints are also lubricated at this time, which helps them move much more easily than they would if they were dry.
While gripping the edge of a towel bar or holding onto a wall for balance, stand on one leg and bend the other one behind you with your knee straight and foot flat on the floor. Bend at your hip so that you’re leaning forward.
I know that it sounds wacky, but I swear to you that this works. Stretching and warming up after a bath or shower literally feels so good and can make a big difference in how much you’re able to stretch and how flexible you feel throughout the day. And it could even help you get the splits!
8. Do Deep Static Stretches After Every Workout
One of the best ways to achieve the splits is by doing deep static stretches after every workout. This will allow you to improve your flexibility and loosen up any tight muscles that might be preventing you from getting into the splits.
It’s important to note that you should never do this without warming up first. If you’re just starting out with your splits training then start by warming up for 5 minutes before attempting deep static stretching. This will help prevent injury and make sure that you feel comfortable with the stretches.
Once you feel like you’re ready, begin by holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds, then releasing, then repeating it. You can stop at that point if you’re feeling sore or if it feels too much and wait until the next day before continuing.
See also: 20+ Essential Tips For Mastering Your Handstand
9. Perform Dynamic Stretches Too
Dynamic stretching is the best way to warm up before a workout. Dynamic stretches are more than just going through the motions. They involve controlled movement and range of motion, so they improve your range of motion while also warming up your muscles.
Dynamic stretching is any form of stretching that involves movement. This can be done in many different ways, such as walking lunges, walking knee hugs, side leg swings and jumping jacks.
See also: What is Flying Pilates?
The key is not to bounce or hold the position for too long — just enough to get your body moving and increase blood flow to your muscles.
If you want to achieve splits faster, dynamic stretches are an excellent way to start off your workout routine because they help loosen up tight areas like hamstrings and quads that can prevent you from achieving full splits.
The increased blood flow also helps activate muscles so they perform better during exercise or dance practice (which can also help with splits).
10. Stretch Your Hips And Back (Not Just Your Legs)
The hips and lower back are the foundation of the body. Without proper flexibility in these areas, it’s hard to move freely.
The hips are the powerhouses of your body. They’re responsible for moving you forward and backward, side to side, and rotating your torso. When your hips are flexible, you can walk, run, jump and lunge with ease.
The lower back is also essential for movement and stability. It’s part of the core muscles that support your spine as you move throughout your day. If your lower back is tight, it can cause pain or injury because it’s overworked when other muscles don’t do their job properly.
It’s important to stretch both these areas so they function properly and feel good!
But, back to the splits… you have to be able to fully open your hip flexor muscles in order to achieve a full horizontal split, so don’t neglect stretching your hips using both dynamic and static stretches.
See also: 4 Aerial Yoga poses for a stronger and more flexible spine
11. Don’t Get Disheartened
The splits are difficult – OK! Progress is not going to be instant, you’re going to have to work at it.
But what if you have been working at it but you’re not seeing the progress that you’d hoped? Celebrate every 1/16th of an inch further that you get towards your goal of doing the splits!
Try to enjoy yourself – remember this is support to be a fun challenge, not a chore.
If you’re not a flexible person, it can take months or even years to perfect the splits. But don’t get disheartened if you can’t do the splits right away; it’s extremely difficult and takes a lot of time. You’ll have to work at it consistently for as long as it takes — but the payoff is well worth it!
Don’t let yourself become discouraged by this pose; instead, enjoy the journey toward it.
12. Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
I know what it feels like to compare yourself to others — especially when it comes to your fitness goals. You see someone who’s able to do a split and think, “Wow, I’ll never be able to do that!”
Then you try doing the same move and realize it’s much harder than it looks. This can be discouraging for anyone learning how to do splits, but don’t worry: The key is not giving up!
I’ve learned a lot about myself over the past few years as I’ve been working toward my goal of being able to do the splits. Here are some important things that have helped me along the way:
- Don’t compare yourself to other people when you’re learning how to do the splits — compare yourself only against yourself at each stage of your journey.
- Each person has different strengths and weaknesses when it comes to learning new skills, so comparing yourself against others will only make things more stressful for you (and make their progress seem impossible for you). As long as you’re working hard on your own
You are not other people. You are you. Celebrate that.
13. Point And Flex Your Feet When Stretching
When you stretch, it’s important to point and flex your feet. It helps open up your hips and gets more blood flowing through them.
To point: On a flat surface, place one foot in front of the other with legs as straight as possible. Push down with your toes, pointing them away from your body (it should feel like you’re stretching out the front of your shin). Hold for 20 to 30 seconds before switching sides.
To flex: With both feet on a flat surface, start with legs straight and toes pointed. Flex one foot at a time by curling up the toes toward your shins until they touch the shinbone. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds before switching feet.
14. Take Photos To Monitor Your Progress Towards Doing The Splits
Here are some tips for taking photos of your splits progress:
Use a mirror. You can also use a friend to take a photo, but it’s easier to see what you’re doing when you use a mirror.
Take multiple shots from different angles so that you can see the whole picture.
Make sure that the camera is in focus and clear of any other objects that would get in the way of seeing what you’re doing well.
When taking photos of your splits, make sure that you’re not just stretching one leg at a time. Both legs should be stretched out to their full length and straightened out as much as possible for maximum benefit from this exercise.
15. Practice Meditation During Your Stretches
There are many benefits to meditation, but the most important is its ability to help you achieve a state of mental clarity.
Meditation has been used for thousands of years to help people cope with stress, pain, and anxiety. It’s a practice that involves focusing on your breathing and controlling your thoughts.
When you’re stretching, it’s easy to get distracted by the pain in your muscles or by the sound of other people in the room. Meditation can help you stay focused on what you’re doing and better control your body as you stretch.
If you’re new to meditation, it may seem difficult at first, but there are plenty of resources available online that can help guide you through the process.
There are also apps like Headspace that offer guided meditations designed specifically for athletes who want to improve their performance through mental training.
See Also: How to look after your mind, body and spirit during the winter
16. Perform Daily Affirmations About Your Flexibility And Strength
Manifest yourself doing the splits.
You can use these affirmations to help you develop your flexibility and strength.
I am flexible and strong.
My body is like a rubber band, bending and stretching to accommodate my creative movements.
My muscles are strong and firm, supporting my joints so that they don’t get injured or hurt.
I have good balance and coordination, which helps me do everything I want to do without straining myself.
My joints are healthy and strong, so they don’t get injured easily when I move them in new ways or try something new that might be difficult for me at first, but will eventually become second nature for me over time as long as I practice it regularly until it becomes habitual and automatic.
Keep repeating your affirmations. Say them out loud if you can and feel the energy that radiates from you.
17. Believe In Yourself
Finally, if you want to be able to achieve the splits faster, you have to believe in yourself.
You can’t think about how hard it will be or how long it may take you. You need to think positively and focus on your goals.
You can do it! The splits is a very challenging pose. It requires flexibility and strength in your hips, legs and core. It needs dedication to your training.
But if you have the desire to achieve it, you can do it!
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