Gymnasts and dancers are extremely flexible and it is always amazing how they can dance, jump, and balance themselves in various positions with their legs in a split position. Some say that unless you are flexible from a young age, you won’t be able to do a split. This is not true at all, and yes, the training will be very intense, but it can definitely happen. Doing a split just seems like one of the main goals people have in fitness because it is a display of true flexibility and strength. If you have always wanted to do a split but did not know where to start, practice these 7 simple stretches and you’ll be well on your way.
5 Stretches to Help You Do a Split
This stretch is a simple way to get started and it helps to increase flexibility in the hamstrings and lower back.
How to do it: Stand tall with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Now put your hands behind your back and lock your fingers together right below your sacrum. Now slowly pull your hands up to stretch the chest muscles. Next lean forward and lift your hands up as high as possible while continue to bend your torso towards your thighs. Make sure that you keep your legs straight for the entire stretch. Hold this position for about 5 seconds. To finish this stretch flex the legs and slowly lift back up to the starting position.
Head to Knee
If you’re lacking flexibility in your hamstrings, this will surely do the trick.
How to do it: While sitting down on the floor, extend both legs out in front of you. Now bend your left knee and pull your foot against your right inner thigh. Next, reach your left hand to the outer part of your right food and wrap your other hands around the arch of your foot. Now, slowly bend your torso on top of your right leg. Don’t worry if you can’t reach your foot just yet. Just reach as far as possible. When your torso on top of your leg, hold this position for about 5 seconds, then switch legs.
This is an advanced move that will really stretch the hamstrings and lower back. The main focus is on the part of the hamstrings that is directly attached to the glutes.
How to do it: Sit with your feet a few feet apart, not too wide! Now reach with your left hand and slightly move your butt muscle up and behind you so that your pelvis and hamstrings are directly in contact with the floor. Next, slowly tuck your head and lean towards the floor while flexing sucking in your abs towards your ribs. At the same time, slide your hands down your legs or on the floor in front of your head until you begin to feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Remain in this position for about 5 seconds, then slowly return to the starting position.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
So far all of the exercises focused on hamstrings. Now let’s focus on the hips! Flexible hip flexors are crucial for doing a split.
How to do it: Grab a towel and place it on the floor about 6-8 inches from the wall. Now, kneel with your right knee on the towel and toes pressing against a bench, couch, or wall. Next, place your left foot down in front of you, and slowly lower your hips until you begin to feel a stretch. Put your hands on your front knee to help stabilize your upper body. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then switch sides.
If you can master this advanced move you will be one step closer towards doing a split.
How to do it: Begin this move in a downward facing dog yoga position. Now bring your right foot forward between your palms similar to the warrior yoga position, while keeping your hands on the floor. Now slowly lower your left knee to the floor while bringing your hands together into a prayer position. From this position, squeeze your right knee towards your body with your head and knee aligned facing forward while lowering your hips to the floor. Now, hold this position for 5 seconds and then release and switch sides.
This move is good to help gain the flexibility for a regular floor split. This is a basic version of what a dancer may do during training.
How to do it: Start by standing up and slightly bending forward. Next place all your weight into your left foot and palms. Now lift your right leg up towards the ceiling as high as possible. While doing this, continue to bend your torso as close to your left leg as possible. Remember to breathe during the entire stretch. Hold this position for no more than 5 seconds and return to the starting position. Switch sides and repeat.