In response to my first post 5 Secrets to Flexibility Training, and Building a Following I received a lot of questions about what stretches I did to get my splits. So, here you have it!
15 Stretches: How I Got My Splits in 65 Days
- Disclaimer: I am not an expert on flexibility. However, these are all stretches I learned from certified personal trainers, yoga instructors, and contortionists and the order that I did them for 65 days.
- Warm Up: Spend 10-15 minutes warming up. Do not stretch“cold.”
- Questions? I’ve hyperlinked to video tutorials from professionals for most poses.
1) Downward Dog (Yoga with Adriene, 2012)
Press into the ground with your hands and draw your hips back. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
2) Cobra Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2013)
Press into Cobra Pose from Downward Dog. Hold for 3-5 breaths.
3) Downward Dog Leg Extensions
Raise each leg, while maintaining Downward Dog form and pulse the leg 10 times. Then, pull the extended leg forward for Pigeon.
4) Pigeon Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2013)
Keep your ankle bent to protect your knee and draw your hips forward to keep them squared forward. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
5) Warrior One Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2012)
Keep your hips squarely forward, while tucking your pelvis (avoid just sinking into this stretch). Hold for 30-60 seconds. Drop the back knee to get into a Runner’s Lunge.
6) Runner’s Lunge
Do not sink into this stretch. Press your hip forward for your back leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds. Then, draw your hips back for the Hamstring Stretch.
7) Hamstring Stretch
Fold forward with a flat back and front foot flexed. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
8) Lizard Pose (Yoga by Candace, 2014)
Press forward and drop both elbows to the inside of the forward leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
9) Seated Modified Hurdler Stretch (Strong Runner, 2012)
Hold for 3-5 breaths, reach a little further. Repeat 3 times on each side.
10) Frog Stretch (ehowhealth, 2012)
Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds. Keep your hips in line with both knees.
11) Pancake or Straddle Stretch (GMB Fitness, 2014)
Hold for 3-5 breaths and reach a little further. Repeat 3 times on each side.
12) Side Reach in Pancake or Straddle Stretch.
Add a side reach. Rotate your torso to the sky and look up, while reaching with the opposite hand as leg. Hold for 30-60 seconds.
13) Wall Lunge (Charlotte PoleFit, 2016)
Feel free to use yoga blocks to help with balance. Similar to the Runner’s Lunge with the added resistance of the wall. Hold for 30-60 second intervals.
14) PNF Hamstring Stretch (Brian Abelson, 2012)
You’ll need a theraband or friend to create resistance. Watch the hyperlinked video for best practices. Hold for 30 seconds, relax and repeat 3-5 times on each side.
15) Try Your Split
Quick tip: Put on calming music and focus on your breathing. Try to get out of a place of fear. Listen to your body and never push past extreme pain to get your split.
From your Runner’s Lunge, slowly slide forward into your best split. Hold for 5 deep breaths or 30 seconds, and repeat 3 times on both sides. Feeling bendy? Try to roll through to the other side, like this:
How often to stretch?
I did the stretches listed above for 20-40 minutes daily for 65 days until I got my first split. To maintain that flexibility, I stretch a minimum of 4 days a week for 20 minutes. That said, I am not a naturally flexible person so it may take you less or more to maintain.
Tips for Sharing Your Practice
Before creating this post, I sought out advice on developing “How-To” posts. As an instructor, I am used to verbally queuing students. Writing about my own flexibility practice has proved to be much more challenging. Ali Luke (@aliventures), author and blogger, shares great tips in “How to Write a How-To Post: 7 Simple Steps” for creating a written tutorial:
- Step #1: Pick a Good Topic and Goal
- Step #2: Work Out the Steps from Start to End
- Step #3: Write the Introduction
- Step #4: Write Instructions for Each Step
- Step #5: Add a Conclusion and Call to Action
- Step #6: Tweak the Title
- Step #7: Edit Your Post
Step 4 really resonated with me. As I began writing this post, I found myself just listening poses. Being both a student and instructor, I know that is not actionable. I think this blog does a great job of identifying not only the steps of how to create a tutorial but how to make it engaging. Following her steps made writing this post much easier for me, I encourage to check out her blog here.
Share Your Practice!
Our community is build on sharing. Having success with a new pose, strength, or flexibility? I encourage you to share your journey too and use the seven tips from Ali Luke.
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Luke Ali (2011, December 12). How to Write a How-To Post: 7 Simple Steps. Retrieved July 14, 2016, from: http://www.dailyblogtips.com/how-to-write-a-how-to-post-7-simple-steps/
Yoga with Adriene. “Downward Dog – Downward Facing Dog Yoga Pose.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 12 December 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.
Yoga with Adriene. “Cobra Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 16 January 2013. Web. 14 July 2016.
Yoga with Adriene. “Pigeon Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 24 April 2013. Web. 14 July 2016.
Yoga with Adriene. “Warrior One Yoga Pose – Yoga With Adriene.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 20 December 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.
Yoga by Candace. “How to do Lizard Pose.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 15 September 2014. Web. 14 July 2016.
Strong Runner. “Seated Modified Hurdler Stretch is One of The Most Important Stretching Exercises For Runners.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 11 October 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.
ehowhealth. “Pilates Exercises : How to Do a Frog Stretch.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 25 February 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.
GMB Fitness. “Stretching for Super-Stiff People – How to Get into Position.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 29 April 2014. Web. 14 July 2016.
Charlotte PoleFit. “Wall Lunge & PNF Flexibility Technique.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 5 January 2016. Web. 14 July 2016.
Brian Abelson. “PNF Stretching For Your Hamstring Muscles – Kinetic Health.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 6 August 2012. Web. 14 July 2016.