Are you looking to enhance your front and middle splits flexibility? Look no further! In this blog post, I will guide you through a series of effective stretches to help you achieve and unlock your front and middle splits flexibility. Whether a beginner or more advanced, these stretches will help you reach your flexibility goals. So, let’s dive in and discover the key stretches that will take your flexibility to new heights!
Can You Work on Your Front and Middle Splits at the Same Time?
The quick answer to the question of whether you can work on your front and middle splits flexibility at the same time would be yes and no. At first, if you are very inflexible, separating your front and middle splits stretching session will help you see quicker results. You are likely to notice that you will get your front splits sooner. Once you have your front splits, work mostly on your middle splits to catch up with your middle splits flexibility. When you are close to getting your middle splits, and you have your front splits, that’s when you may notice that working on both at once is practical and helpful.
8 Stretches That Improve Your Front and Middle Splits Flexibility
Many stretches can benefit both front and middle splits, as they target similar muscle groups involved in both types of splits. Here are some stretches that are effective for both front and middle splits:
- Deep Lunge: Start in a lunge position with one foot in front and the other extended behind you. Gradually lower your hips toward the floor while keeping your back leg straight. You can intensify the stretch by leaning forward. This stretch targets the hip flexors, hamstrings, and groin. My Skandasana Progression: Hip Opening for the Side Lunge dives into this deep lunge.
- Butterfly Stretch: Sit with the soles of your feet together and your knees bent outward. Gently press your knees toward the ground while keeping your feet close to your body. This stretch helps open up the hips and inner thighs.
- Pancake Stretch: Sit with your legs extended wide apart. Lean forward from your hips and reach toward the center. Try to keep your back straight. This stretch targets the hamstrings, adductors, and lower back. This Pancake Stretch Progression: How to Get Your Pancake is also helpful.
- Straddle Stretch: Sit with your legs apart in a V-shape. Lean forward and reach your hands between your legs as far as you can. This stretch is excellent for stretching the inner thighs, hamstrings, and groin.
- Lying Hamstring Stretch: Lie on your back with both legs extended straight. Bend one knee and bring it toward your chest. Grasp the back of your thigh or calf with both hands, just below the knee. Gently straighten your bent leg while keeping the other leg flat on the floor. Flex your foot by pointing your toes toward your face. Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, feeling the stretch in the back of your thigh (hamstring). Switch legs and repeat the stretch on the other side.
- Dynamic Leg Swings: Stand next to a sturdy support (e.g., a ballet barre or a wall) and swing your legs from side to side in a controlled manner. This exercise helps increase flexibility for both front and middle splits.
- Hip Flexor Stretch: Kneel on one knee with the other foot in front, creating a 90-degree angle with the front knee. Tilt your pelvis forward slightly to feel a stretch in the hip flexors of the back leg. This stretch targets the hip flexors, which are essential for both splits. Also try Low Lunge Yoga Variations: 5 Strength and Flexibility Drills and for hip flexor strength, which you also need, Crazy Effective Hip Flexor Strengthening Exercises,
- Seated Forward Bend: Sit with your legs extended straight in front of you. Reach forward and try to touch your toes while keeping your back straight. This stretch benefits the hamstrings and lower back, which are essential for splits.
Remember to warm up before stretching, breathe deeply, and hold each stretch for 20-30 seconds or longer if comfortable. Stretching regularly will help improve your flexibility for both front and middle splits.
Front and Middle Splits Flexibility Routine
Your routine will include most of the stretches that made it to the list above but also some extra ones. Try it here:
Tips for Your Front and Middle Splits Flexibility
I started doing yoga when I was 43. As a NASM Personal Trainer and Health Coach, I was pretty fit and knowledgeable about health. On the other hand, I wasn’t flexible at all. Learning the splits became one of my goals, so I did it! Let me summarize what I learned in a few tips:
- Start small: Stretch every day but only 10-15 minutes a day. No need to stretch for longer as long as you remain consistent.
- Track your progress: Tracking your progress is crucial. It will help you stay motivated, and it’s rewarding!
- Focus on passive stretching: If you are inflexible like I was, passive stretches held for at least a minute should be the building blocks of your stretching protocol. (This post will help and includes a passive routine Learning the Splits Over 40: Can Anyone Learn the Splits?).
- Add strengthening exercises and active stretching when you are ready: Flexibility training doesn’t just involve stretching your muscles. It also requires you to strengthen your muscles! That is how you increase your range of motion! For example, try these Low Lunge Yoga Variations: 5 Strength and Flexibility Drills and my Active Splits Stretching: Refine Your Front Splits. This article is helpful to get your middle splits: How to Flatten Your Middle Splits.
I created a 5-Day Yoga Habit Challenge for those who wish to start creating a yoga habit the easy way:
Benefits of Front and Middle Splits Flexibility
Flexibility in middle and side splits, also known as straddle splits, offers a range of physical benefits, as well as improvements in overall health and well-being. Here are some of the benefits of middle and side splits flexibility:
- Improved Range of Motion: Middle and side splits flexibility significantly increases your range of motion in the hips, groin, and inner thigh muscles. This can enhance your ability to perform various physical activities and movements.
- Enhanced Athletic Performance: Increased flexibility in the hips and groin can improve your performance in sports and physical activities that involve lateral movements, kicks, and leg lifts, such as martial arts, dance, gymnastics, and figure skating.
- Injury Prevention: Greater flexibility in the hip and groin areas can reduce the risk of muscle strains, tears, and other injuries, especially in sports and activities that require sudden changes in direction or kicking motions.
- Improved Posture: Middle and side splits flexibility can help correct imbalances in the hips and pelvis, leading to better overall posture and reduced risk of lower back pain and discomfort.
- Back Pain Relief: Achieving greater flexibility in the hips and groin can alleviate tension in the lower back by reducing the strain on these areas. This can lead to reduced back pain and improved spinal health.
- Better Circulation: Stretching exercises that target the hip and groin areas can improve blood circulation in these regions, promoting better nutrient delivery to muscles and faster recovery after workouts.
- Stress Reduction: Stretching and flexibility exercises, including middle and side splits, can help reduce stress and tension, leading to improved mental and emotional well-being.
- Increased Core Strength: Achieving and maintaining splits require good core strength to stabilize the pelvis and support the spine. As a result, working on splits can indirectly lead to improved core strength.
- Balance and Stability: Improved flexibility in the hips and groin can enhance your balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls and injuries in everyday life.
- Aesthetic Benefits: For individuals involved in dance, cheerleading, or artistic performance, middle and side splits can be visually impressive and contribute to the overall aesthetics of their routines.
- Personal Achievement: Mastering the middle and side splits can be a significant personal achievement and a testament to your dedication to fitness and flexibility.
It’s important to note that achieving middle and side splits flexibility takes time, consistent practice, and patience.
Which Is Easier: The Front or the Middle Splits?
The ease of achieving front splits (also known as straddle splits) versus middle splits (side splits) can vary from person to person and is influenced by several factors, including individual anatomy, genetics, flexibility, and training history. However, for most people, front splits tend to be easier to achieve compared to middle splits. Here’s why:
- Natural Range of Motion: The natural range of motion for most individuals often includes a greater degree of hip abduction (moving the legs apart to the sides) compared to hip flexion (moving one leg forward and the other backward). This natural hip abduction range can make front splits more accessible.
- Common Movements: Many daily activities and sports involve movements that mimic front splits to some extent, such as lunging or stretching one leg forward and the other backward. This can lead to more familiarity and comfort with front splits.
- Muscle Engagement: The muscles involved in front splits, such as the hip flexors and hamstrings, tend to be more commonly used and may be more accustomed to stretching compared to the muscles involved in middle splits, such as the hip adductors (inner thigh muscles).
- Gravity Assistance: When working on front splits, gravity can help gently pull the legs down and forward, aiding in achieving greater flexibility. In contrast, middle splits require more active effort to push the legs apart against gravity.
I learned the front splits at the age of 43. It took me about 6 months to get down the floor from being very inflexible. Three years later, I still don’t have a full middle splits (see my 1-Year Yoga Transformation: Before and After Pictures)
By incorporating the appropriate stretches into your training regimen, you can significantly enhance both your middle and front splits flexibility. Doubling up on these areas of flexibility will not only benefit your overall range of motion but also improve your performance in various physical activities. Start incorporating targeted stretches today and unlock the full potential of your splits. Take your flexibility journey further by joining my 5-Day Yoga Habit Challenge. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to enhance your flexibility and overall well-being. Sign up now and embark on a transformative journey towards improved flexibility and mind-body harmony.