One of the questions I get asked the most is how to get more flexible, and in particular how to do the splits. Following these steps daily, you could get your splits in as little as a week from now! You have to commit to it and it won’t be easy, but I truly believe anyone can do the splits if they put in the work.
Now, not everyone will take a week, some may take a month or even six months up to a year, but consistency is key and you will get there if you stick to it, I promise!
This is the most important step and one that often gets neglected and then people wonder why their legs are in agony the next day or how they managed to pull a muscle, concluding that the splits just aren’t for them. It’s SO important to get the blood pumping and flowing to the muscles you’re about to put under strain. It’s vital for your whole body to be warm prior to stretching.
I recommend doing a cardio based warm up first to really get the heart rate up and blood pumping around your body, to prepare your body and your mind for exercise. If you don’t warm up properly, you’re much more likely to sustain an injury. I like to put on my favourite upbeat song and do exercises like jogging on the spot, jumping jacks and jumps for the whole track, making sure to move my whole body.
I will be uploading a follow along cardio warm up on my YouTube channel – go and subscribe now and hit the bell notification button so you don’t miss it!
After you’ve got the blood flowing and your body moving, you want to add some mobility exercises, such as hip circles in both directions.
YOGA / FLOW
Before I get into static stretches I like to do a little yoga flow, such as sun salutations to ease my muscles into the stretches before holding them for too long. In these types of flows, you move through each position fairly quickly as it is often still part of a warm up, and gets more blood flowing to the muscles.
Now that you’re thoroughly warmed up, it’s time to really start working on that flexibility. Below are images of all the stretches I do when working on my splits. Most people have a problem either with tight hamstrings (backs of your thighs) or tight hips – sometimes both. So if it’s one or the other, make sure you spend more time stretching out the problem area as it will likely take longer to loosen up.
Hold each stretch for an absolute minimum of 30 seconds, ideally you want to hold each one for about 2 minutes, to really give the muscles chance to relax. Focus on deep breathing throughout your stretches, never hold your breath! With each exhale, see if you can release a little more tension.
Put on your favourite music while you’re stretching to help take your mind off it!
Remember that stretching should never be painful but it will be uncomfortable. It’s important that you learn the difference! You want to hold each stretch at the point where you can feel it, but it shouldn’t be painful as such. There can be a pretty fine line so take it easy at first so you can learn where your threshold is!
After your static stretches, you should try some PNF stretching at least once a week. Again, the more you do it, the quicker you will see results.
PNF stands for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation which is basically stretching with an external force. You will need to find either a partner or a band (can be a belt, pair of tights, anything like that) to assist your stretching. By applying an external force you will improve your flexibility much quicker and therefore be able to get your splits faster.
You can use some of the same stretches we did in the static stretches, but use your partner or band to apply force. They will apply force and you will push against it as hard as you can, for 10 seconds. You will then release the force but continue the stretch for 10 seconds, and you should be able to increase the range of motion. Repeat this process 3-5 times in a couple of different stretches and you should see results immediately.
PNF stretching is the most effective way to drastically improve your flexibility quickly.
If you want to get your splits quickly and keep them, you need to do these stretches daily. You have to commit to it and you have to actually want it, or else it’s very easy to give in. If you’re really serious, you could do a stretching session in the morning and in the evening.
Try setting an alarm at a certain time each day so that you remember to do your stretches, or incorporate it into your morning/evening routine so that it becomes habit.
Flexibility isn’t just a cool skill you can show off, it will increase your movement in every day life and make moving around easier!
If you’re looking for a new skill to learn or a challenge, let this be it! Commit to it and start today, and update me on your progress – I want to hear all about it! I’m also happy to answer any questions if you have any.
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