Stretching for splits: How to nail the splits

Stretching for splits: How to nail the splits

Do you want to become more flexible?

When was the last time you did the splits? If your answer is “never,” don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone. Especially if you’re super busy progressing in your career, it’s quite understandable if you haven’t been able to achieve the splits yet.

The splits are an impressive show of flexibility and one of the best stretches you can do to alleviate tightness in your hips and legs. But you also have to keep in mind that they take time and dedication.  If your goal is to progressively become more flexible, then you found the right place to achieve that (on your way to the splits). Don’t worry if you have a busy job, if you manage to squeeze in some time for these stretching exercises, either by doing them alone, or by joining online stretching classes, your continuous efforts will pay off!

Photo by Allan Mas from Pexels

Stretching for splits

Before you attempt to do splits, check out these expert training tips and step-by-step instructions on how to do the splits.

Here are a few basic stretches you can implement into your routine to see rapid improvement towards nailing your first splits. Do this stretch routine daily (or at least 3 to 4 times per week) to start seeing progress. Remember, patience is key and you’ll eventually get there! 

Prior to trying to do a split you need to work on key muscles involved in splits.

1. Seated Forward Fold

This exercise will help you lengthen your hamstrings 

With practice and continuous use of this stretch, your hamstrings will become more flexible and better prepared to do the splits.

  • Take a seat on the ground (seat on a cushion if you’re new to stretching) and stretch your legs out in front of you.
  • Reach forward to grab a hold of your feet or use a fitness belt  and bend your knees so that your chest meets the top of your thighs. This is important, as a gap between your torso and your legs will take you away from the stretch.
  • Slowly begin to straighten your legs, taking deep breaths and maintaining the contact between your torso and thighs.
seated forward fold
Seated Forward Fold | 60 sec

2. Kneeling Hamstring Stretch

This stretch will help you to lengthen your hamstrings independently, allowing you to correct any imbalances and give each side its own focused attention. If you notice that one side is tighter than the other, spend a little extra time there, working on balancing out the sides.

  • Kneel on one knee (use cushion to avoid knee pain) and bring the other leg straight out in front of you.
  • Square your hips to make sure you are not twisted to the side
  • Lower your torso towards your front leg and place your fingertips on the ground on either side of your foot.
  • Work the same way you did in the first stretch, starting with a bent knee and slowly straightening it with deep breath and focus.
Kneeling Hamstring Stretch​
Kneeling Hamstring Stretch | 30 sec per side

3. Deep Runner’s Lunge

This exercise will help you lengthen your hip flexors. The main focus of this stretch is your hip flexors, a very tight area for most people who spend a lot of time sitting. You’ll need flexible, open hips to get into the splits, and this stretch helps you achieve that.

  • Start in a lunge position with your front knee bent at a 90-degree angle and your back leg straight.
  • Lower your elbows to the floor or use a block or cushion on the inside of your front leg.
  • Work to press your hips towards the ground and slide your back leg further back.
Deep runner lunge
Deep Runner’s Lunge | 30 sec per side

4. Lunging Quad Stretch

This stretch will help you to lengthen your quadriceps (yes, each part of your lower body needs to become more flexible if you want to get to the splits!).

Tight quads could be preventing you from getting your full splits. But as we hope we’ve managed to convince you, stretching for splits is a process. If this stretch feels very intense for you, then it’s likely one of the most important for you to focus on.

  • Stay in that same lunge position (use a cushion to avoid knee pain)  and lift your back foot up and catch it with your opposite hand. Use blocks or books for balance

  • Carefully pull your foot towards your butt until you feel the stretch.

  • Breathe deep and allow time for your muscles to relax and lengthen.

With all the muscles now being warm, you can start to attempt the splits. Start with assisted or supported splits. This stretch is the closest to doing the full splits, so this is great “practice” for the real thing. This supported version will help you get there safely and without forcing it.

Lunging Quad Stretch​
Lunging Quad Stretch | 30 sec per side

5. Block Supported Splits

  • Use a cushion for the back knee and front heel. It’s best to do it on a wooden floor, so you can slide forward with front cushion
  • Start in the kneeling hamstring stretch and place 2 yoga blocks/stack of books directly under your front hamstrings.
  • Slide your back leg back to straighten as much as you can.
  • Reach your fingers to the ground (or use the side furniture)  and lean your torso forward to intensify the stretch.
Block Supported Splits | 30 sec per side

6. The Splits

You’ve done it! You’ve reached the highest point of your “stretching for splits” journey – the splits themselves.

  • Remove one of the supporting blocks or books, then both, and slowly lower into the full splits by sliding your front heel forward and using your hands on the ground to guide you.
  • Breath deeply and focus on relaxation and muscle lengthening.
The Splits

Keep in mind that nailing the splits will likely take more than one or even a few practice sessions. If you aren’t able to nail it on your first attempt, be patient, schedule this practice into your weekly routine, and keep at it. Practicing consistently and regularly is your best bet.

Need more help with getting more flexible?

If you have been avoiding stretching like many of us have, we have good news: today is a good day to start your journey! If your work keeps you super busy, doing 10 min a few times a week is a good starting point. We offer online stretching classes that suit everyone’s needs so make sure to check our timetable. If you work as part of a bigger team, make sure to reach out to learn more about our corporate offering.

We encourage you to try one of our stretches on Facebook to see how you feel, or what’s even better if you want to get the full benefits – check out our free trial offer. 7 days packed with stretching classes including Barre and Tabata fusion exercises.

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