For most of us its months and maybe years of training and practice, but if you don’t know the reason why you CAN’T do the splits, then you will probably be working on it for a longer time than needed.
First things first! You have to find out what muscles are the ones that are keeping you from doing this position, and depending on what type of splits you want to do – Scissor or straddle, the areas will be different and the technique will be different.
- Scissor- focuses on mostly hamstring (back upper leg) and the leg in back is focusing mostly on the hip flexors (front hips.)
- Straddle– focuses mostly on the adductors (inner thighs.)
The best way to be sure is to do a test to find out which way are you tight?
- Get into position- put your right leg out in front, are you more flexible in this area than your left hip? Do you feel a pull on your right hamstring? Or do you feel more of a pull on the left hip flexor?
- Now do the left leg side, do you feel more of a pull on the left hamstring? Or do you feel more of a pull on the right hip flexor?
We start to make a plan, now that we know what side and what area are in need of stretching. I am going to teach you a new trick, its called isolated resistance stretching and PNF.
- You isolate the area by doing the splits, then you press downward or inward while you are doing the splits, it all depends on what splits you are doing on what action you are going to take.
For example: Scissor split- get into the splits and say its your left hip flexor that is tight, put your right leg in front, and left leg in back, roll your left hip to the left and isolate the hip flexor to the floor or as flat or as close to the floor as you can, then you press your quad (top front part of the leg) or if you can’t then you can press the knee but put padding under the knee or left foot to the ground for 5-10 seconds then release and allow gravity to bring you down, do this again and again, see the hip get closer and closer to the ground, This is called PNF.
Here is another way to safely add flexibility to your body its called resistance stretching.
Part ll- Get into the splits again but bend your front leg (right) in pigeon position in front of you, bend the back leg (left) up (the leg that has the tight hip flexor) so the foot is up, wrap a belt on the foot or ankle, make sure it is on there tight and wont slip off. You are going to resist but allowing your leg to straighten while with the other hand is pulling the belt all the way toward you over your shoulder, have a tug of war match with the belt and your leg, so the movement is you straighten your left leg and bending it again while you are pulling the belt toward you, letting the leg win moving straight, then pulling the leg toward you all the way closer and closer, your heel will get closer to your glute every time. Resisting the entire time throughout each movement back and forth, (this part is a very important step.)
–Right hamstring that is the tightest– position again with your right in front and press the heal down into the ground and your left foot pressing into the ground, hands on the side of your hips, as hard as you can while you lift your body with your hands up and down farther and farther down each time. Press as hard as you can work your way down to the floor. Resisting the entire time.
- Straddle- This one is the easy one, you just open your legs and roll your body forward having your butt a little off the ground, holding your body up with your hands in front and hands on the floor in back, squeeze your legs resisting inward while you lift your hips up and down, go deeper every time you go down into the stretch, and you will see instant results. If you cannot touch the ground with your hands use a steady chair or small stool to hold on to and bring your self up and down.
This is the safest way to stretch; you are actually elongating the muscles and strengthening the muscle at the same time. A muscle that is elongated and then contracted at that elongated state is actually stretching it farther for you, so the muscle is the one stretching itself before you are stretching it, so you will see that this way is the fastest way and the safest way to do the splits!
If you have any questions on what is tight take the Range of motion test at www.BodyAlignmentForLife.com