15 Stretches for Splits, and Tips for Sharing Your Practice

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!

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 11.51.15 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.03.44 PM

2) Cobra Pose (Yoga with Adriene, 2013)

Press into Cobra Pose from Downward Dog. Hold for 3-5 breaths.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.05.55 PM

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.

downward dog, leg extended

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.07.37 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.09.41 PM

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.

runners lunge

7) Hamstring Stretch

Fold forward with a flat back and front foot flexed. Hold for 30-60 seconds.

forward runner lunge

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.11.17 PM

9) Seated Modified Hurdler Stretch (Strong Runner, 2012)

Hold for 3-5 breaths, reach a little further. Repeat 3 times on each side.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.11.41 PM

10) Frog Stretch (ehowhealth, 2012)

Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds. Keep your hips in line with both knees.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.12.30 PM

11) Pancake or Straddle Stretch (GMB Fitness, 2014)

Hold for 3-5 breaths and reach a little further. Repeat 3 times on each side.

forward fold

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.

other side reach

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.13.37 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.14.18 PM

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.

Happy bending!

Melissa Barker


Read more from the Digital Drinkers 

Surviving a Beer Fest    |     Investing In A Home, Part 1      |     The Portland Trail Blazers Brand      |   Training For My First 1/2 Marathon


References

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.

Digital Drinkers Week in Review

Happy Friday!

 

This week, the Digital Drinkers posted compelling and fun, mostly long-form, content.   

 

Who are the Digital Drinkers? Meet the team and their first posts.

 

 

sophia basketballSophia, our resident sports fan and Portland Trail Blazers expert, wrote in-depth about how the Blazers brand awareness and ticket sales strategy have helped them maintain regional popularity.

 

 

davidDavid, our Portland real estate guru, started his 3-part-series on the Do’s and Don’ts of real estate investing.

 

 

laurenLauren, our runner extraordinaire, has begun training for the Disney Half Marathon and she’s chronicling her journey here.

 

 

 

melissaMelissa, our bendy acrobat, wrote about her flexibility transformation and building a social media following.

 

 

 

To celebrate the end of the work-week, hit up a beer festival in the area and check out our guide to surviving a festival.