This post includes all my best tips on how to do the splits and four videos that you can use to practice daily. Practicing the splits takes time and consistency. Keep up the good work, don’t give up! It will most likely take longer than you thing.
Learn How to Do the Splits: Tips and Precautions
It’s obvious that the more you practice each day, the sooner you will see results. When you learn how to do the splits, you will notice that your whole body tenses up at first. It’s ok! Practice is key. Gradually, the pain won’t be as intense as you teach your body these stretches are safe. You will learn to relax in the sensations. However, it’s essential to do so safely. Follow the following tips and precautions.
Tips to Do the Splits
I would recommend doing half an hour a day. Alternate two of my four videos each day and you will see improvements each month. However, I made my videos 15-minute short because I understand that finding half an hour for flexibility exercises can be challenging. 15-minutes is better than nothing. Just do that if you can’t do more.
For your stretches to improve your flexibility, you need to feel them! It will be uncomfortable, but don’t push yourself too much. We want to make sure you avoid injuries. Take your time, but ride the discomfort. Your whole body will tense up at first. Relax through it. When you hold a stretch for 30 seconds, you teach your body to stop fighting it. A good way to overcome the tense feelings is to breathe slowly and focus on your breath. I really enjoy listening to music to stop thinking about the sensations that would otherwise make me want to stop stretching.
If you work out, do your workout before your flexibility exercises. If not, you can also spend a minute or two doing squats, jogging in place, doing jumping jacks, etc. Anything that will warm you up will help you get farther in your stretches.
Don’t bounce into a stretch. Don’t try to go too far too soon. You need to push yourself but not too hard. Feel the stretch relax into each stretch for at least 30 seconds, but don’t go far to a point if risking injury.
How Long Will It Take?
It depends on how accustomed you are to moving your body, how diligently you practice daily, and how flexible you are in general.
While some people may be able to master the splits in 4-6 weeks, for most people, it will take months. Be patient and stay consistent! The more you practice, the sooner you will see results but “embrace the suck.” as you will most likely not see results very quickly. One person I found online took 9 months to achieve the splits and she was about 9 inches from the ground when she started (I don’t know about you, but I could barely straighten my legs!).
How Often Should You Practice?
When you learn how to do the splits, it’s better to work on your flexibility exercises 15 minutes a day than two segments of one hour. Consistency is the key. Work on it daily. I aim for 30 minutes a day, but 15 minutes a day is an excellent way to get started.
When Should You Stretch?
It’s a matter of preference. I have seen people who recommend evening because your muscles are warmer from your daily activities while others say earlier during the day is preferable because your muscles are tired in the evening.
A Word About Intensity
I tend to stretch at about the same intensity every day. I cycle through the videos you will find in this post and I push slightly until I feel discomfort. However, in my research, I found that some people make sure they push enough to gain more flexibility on some days and then have rest days. On the days when they push themselves, they come closer to the ground than before and hold it for one minute. The rest days are to allow the muscles to heal and avoid injuries. If you do choose this approach, warming up before stretching on your push days is essential.
The Difference Between Mobility and Flexibility
Flexibility uses gravity as a tool to achieve the position you want to achieve. It’s more passive. On the other hand, mobility uses your strength and range of motion. For example, if you do the splits on the floor, you are working on your flexibility. If you are doing the splits standing up (one leg supporting you, the other leg in the air, you are working on your mobility.
Why You Need to Work on Mobility
When you practice doing the splits, it’s important to work on mobility to avoid injuries.
The ideal balance is to not focus so much on strength and endurance that you have no flexibility or so much on your flexibility that you neglect strength and endurance. They are both important components of any fitness regimen.
Another reason you need to work on mobility is that muscle strength can also support muscle flexibility. As you combine strength and flexibility exercises you are improving your flexibility faster than if you were to work on flexibility only because weak muscles tense faster when you try to stretch them.
Your Central Nervous System
There are many mechanisms in your body meant to protect you like your startle reflex, pain, and stiffness. Your body is telling you to stop to avoid any damages. Similarly, the discomfort you feel when you stretch your body is not only a mechanical reaction, it is triggered by your central nervous system to protect you. Respect the signals your brain is sending you and move slowly. As I mentioned already, don’t drop into a stretch.
Working On Your End Range Strength
You will notice that as part of my flexibility routines, there are active movements. These are called “end range strength” exercises. For example, when you are bending over to stretch your hamstrings, you go up and down, move your hips, etc. Another way to work on your end range strength is to consciously activate your muscles even in a pose that may look like a passive stretch. These active stretches will help your brain learn that it’s safe to get into that position.
It’s always a good idea to incorporate active stretches in your flexibility routine.
How to Do the Splits Videos
I tend to alternate front splits and side splits exercises. However, you may decide you just want to work on your front splits for now. It’s up to you! Either way, this 4-video series will enable to practice the side splits and the front splits. I created two 15-minute videos for the front splits and two 15-minute videos for the side splits. If you search online, you will find that practicing the splits always boils down to similar stretches. In my video series, I take you follow along style through these stretches. Since learning how to do the splits takes time, I recommend you make this as enjoyable as possible and put some music on! Don’t bother with my instructions, which are very minimal.