Simple stretches to improve your splitsMay 14th, 2018
I mentioned on Instagram earlier this week that I’m getting back to additional stretching in my own time outside of the gym, it’s often something I have to remind myself to do yet always feel amazing after doing it. Stretching has a heap of benefits, I won’t bore you with the benefits in this post but I’ve listed my simple, go-to stretches to improve my splits and these stretches will improve your hip flexor and hamstring flexibility.
Use your pillow to support your knee, lunge forward with the other leg and focus on keeping your chest up and hips facing forward. I always make sure the knee on the floor is facing the direction I’m facing completely and not turned outwards at all, you’ll end up stretching your inner groin more that way. For this stretch you want to feel the stretch at the top of your hip (of the leg that’s knelt). I hold the stretch with each leg whilst listening to music and normally feel I’ve stretched enough after the duration of one song e.g stretch the front right leg for 30 seconds, 5-10 second break, stretch with the left leg forward for 30 seconds, 5-10 second break then repeat.
When you’ve held the low lunge for a while you’ll find your hips will warm up to this stretch, see if you can go a bit deeper. Once you’ve grounded your hips (both facing forward) and you’ve found your balance, lift your arms up (you can rest them gently on your thigh) and keep your chest up. You should really feel the stretch again around the top of your thigh (of the knelt leg).
Warm up done lol, now going back into the original low lunge position, turn your body towards your front leg to gently pick up your back foot, you can hold onto something as it’s tricky finding the balance. Slowly bring your heel towards your butt, keep both hips facing forward. I tend to hold my stretches for 20 -30 seconds, go at your own pace and stop when you feel you need to.
Hip Flexor Stretch
Bring your front leg forward and fold it underneath your butt. Keeping both hips facing the ground/facing forward keep that entire back leg facing the ground, you should feel your hip flexors stretching, when you’re comfortable,, bring your chest and upper body up gently, you’ll feel more of a stretch too.
The dreaded hamstrings! It’s really tempting with this stretch to try and get your head to your knees but unless you have A1 hamstring flexibility you’re likely to arch your back which takes away from the stretch. Trying to keep your head and neck in line as you go down to touch the floor, keep both feet facing forward and almost try to arch your back, that way you’ll feel the stretch a lot deeper in your hamstrings. You can also add in an additional hamstring stretch – simply reaching your toes with both feet together and legs straight, relax your upper body when you hold this stretch and breathe.
Having a go at the splits regardless of how far down you go is always helpful. The most important thing is to keep your form, make sure both of your hips are facing forward , try to keep your legs as straight as possible and B R E A T H E. Go at your own pace and stop when you’re too uncomfortable. If you have yoga blocks or two sturdy stools to put either side of you to support your hands/upper body as you go down you can do that and placing a pillow or pillows safely stacked will help you hold the splits where you’re most comfortable. Like so…