I have been wanting to write an article about flexibility for a while and now I have the time to start my first part about flexibilty. I will write all about my journey getting flexible and working towards my splits. I will share with you all my wisdom and all my experience.
Since I know how hard it is to start stretching and working towards your splits then I will try to simply explain what exercises and stretches help you get your splits down :).
When I started pole dancing I soon realized the more flexible you are the prettier the tricks are and that is when I realized, I need to get stretching as I have never ever been flexible or even taught about splits or any back bends so I started working on my splits. For me it is easier to stretch my legs but my back is like a brick wall so back stretches are super hard for me, just know everyone is different and maybe for you back stretches are super easy and legs are super hard, dont let that get you down just know everyone is different. Middle splits are super easy for me since my hips are open to the sides more but front splits took me a while to get. So when you start just remember nothing happens over night and it will take time to get your splits down and gain good flexibility. You will get frustrated and annoyed and you will probably even be mad when you have stretched for a while and see no results, just know that you will get your splits if you stay consistent. I started stretching when I was 21, so I had never done it before and sadly I had no one to ask for tips and I had to learn all by myself how to do it. It took me about a year to get down my middle split ( yeah a year, yep you are probably thinking that long???) It was because I was alone and was doing it at home and had no guidance. If you have a chance to take stretching lessons with somebody then definitely use it. As I started from zero and now I can do a over split with 2 blocks under my legs! Like I said stay consistent. Front splits came just about the same time as my middles altough I cant do a full front split with my right leg cause I was lazy and stretched only one side and that is not good. I am working on getting that down as well 🙂
Always stretch both sides equally to avoid injuries. With my left leg in front I can do a 2 block over split. It has taken me I would say about 1.5 year to get the splits and to get good leg flexibility.
So what stretches should you do to get the splits?
I will add pictures with the exercises I do and here is a video tutorial as well:
So I always start with a warm-up since you can never ever stretch a cold muscle, it gets ripped and broken and it will be super hard to stretch a broken muscle.A warm up should be jumping jacks, running, jumping, squats, leg kicks to the front, back and side. After 10-15 minutes of intense kicks and moves you should feel warm enough to stretch.
Start with a V pose (picture 1) hold it for 30-60 seconds.
Next do a lunge. You can keep your back knee off the floor for a deeper stretch. (picture 2)
Then the Lizard pose (picture 3) again you try to put both of your elbows to the ground if you cant, use yoga blocks to help you . To make this move harder lift you back knee off the ground as you do in a lunge. As shown in the lower picture. You can put your hands on your knees and lift your body up to make the stretch deeper. hold it for 30-60 seconds.
Next is the Pigeon pose (picture 4) and this is a great hip flexor opener, your hip flexors are located inside your inner hips. Make sure when you do the pigeon pose to square your hips meaning that you dont sit to the side put try to keep sitting straight. Your shoulders and hips should be aligned then your hips are squared. An easy way to know if your hips are squared is to bend you back leg to your head and if your toes point to the ceiling, then your hips are squared if your leg tilts to the side then your hips are not squared. Squared hips give your hips flexors a better stretch. Hold it for 30-60 seconds.
Then side stretches ( picture 5) . Hold it for 30-60 seconds.
Next is pancake stretch (picture 6) and this is great also for your middle split and its a good stretch overall. Hold it for 30-60 seconds.
Next stretch is super good for your hamstrings (picture 7). You should feel this intense stretch in you hamstrings which are located in your back thighs and they play a big role in your splits. Tight hips and hamstrings are very common so dont worry if you cant bend as far as in the picture , just be consistent and you will get there. Hold it for 30-60 seconds.
And last but not least The split ( picture 8).
From a lunge slowly slide your back leg fully to the ground, keep your knees on the floor and your back leg is also pointing to the ground and when you feel the stretch, then stay there and just hold it. Use yoga blocks to help you sit straight and sink deeper into the stretch.
My top tips:
Hold the split for 30 seconds to one minute and 30 seconds. I like to do splits atleast 3 times, cause I feel when you do it for the 3rd time you will go even lower as your muscles relax even more. If your from the floor about 3 fingers then you should start training for your over split with yoga blocks.
Always breathe! Deep breaths in and out.
Visualize your self in your splits. Let your mind know where you want to go.
Never ever force a split or a stretch .You dont want to brake your muscles, then it will be even harder to get your splits.
Stretch atleast for 3-4 times a week, the more you do it the faster you will get there. But always listen to your body dont stretch if you feel super stiff. Sometimes stretching can release the stifness but sometimes it can make it worse, so always listen to your body.
At some point you might notice you arent making any progress, dont stop, keep working it takes time, but you will make it if you stay consistent. It takes time ! Even if you feel like nothing is happening keep working maybe change some stretches but keep on working on your goals.
WARM UP! ALWAYS!
So this is my take on front splits. I will also make a video tutorial.
In my next post I will tell you my best stretches for middle splits and Aerial splits .
Here are some cool inspirations pictures for you to keep you motivated.
Have any questions? Feel free to ask :)!