5 Simple Stretches To Increase Split Flexibility
Who wished splits were in their flex abilities?
Who can do splits? Okay, click out, this post isn’t for you. 😉
This blog post is for those of us who want to get splits into our repertoire.
We all want flexibility, but do we have the patience to practice. And we get it, it takes a lot of patience, practice, and repetition of the same movements to strengthen those muscles that allow us to pull a split in middle of our routine.
Like all exercise routines, there are major health benefits associated with stretching out for splits. The Miami Herald reported it’s been proven stretch exercises have been proven to help with major health issues like Parkinson’s and cardiovascular disease because it encourages muscle strength and motor control which leads to better circulation.
If you work in an office and/or sit for long periods of time, stretching for splits helps with those tight hip-flexors, glutes, and inner thighs too. It helps counteract the position you sit in all-day.
Urban Aerial Instructor (and part owner) Alex is going to lead you through a stretching exercise that will help you get closer to dropping into a split and adding it into your showcase routine.
Those inner thighs work hard to keep you balanced and stable. If you are also a runner, this series is meant for you!
Inner thigh stretch
Get into a runner’s lunge and drop your left knee to the floor. Squeeze glute and thighs to keep muscles active and engaged while dropping lower in your lunge.
Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds, drop deeper when able. If this feels intense, grab some yoga blocks for stability (or whatever you have around the house that can mimic blocks).
Right hamstring stretch
Flow into this right hamstring stretch by shifting your weight back to left leg while extending right leg forward and keeping it straight. Hold this your 30-60 seconds.
KEEP YOUR BACK FLAT
Eventually you want to get your chest as close to your thigh as possible.
*Bonus: rotate your pointed foot in circles, right to left and then left to right.
Flow into pigeon from the hamstring stretch by shifting your weight forward, bringing your right leg down into pigeon and extending your back leg all the way out.
Keep those muscles active by squeezing. If you feel comfortable in sitting pigeon, feel free to lay forward for a deeper stretch.
Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.
Pigeon w/ leg grab
Now, use the same side arm as leg to grab your foot and massage it back and forth. Over time you will be able to massage that foot as low as your thigh.
Keep your chest and hips forward. If this stretch is too intense, try to kick your back leg to your butt. This motion will help stretch those hammies so you can eventually grab hold of your feet.
Hold this pose for 30-60 seconds.
Start in down dog, and then lift the same leg you’ve been stretching this series in and up. Try to get your leg as straight and as far back (opened up) as possible. Bring your leg back down and in, and repeat for 30 -seconds.
Please protect those neck and shoulder muscles by not letting your down dog creep into your shoulders, keep those shoulders out of your ears and concentrate on squeezing the muscles between shoulder blades to help keep tension off shoulders.
Leg extension w/ bonus move
If you’re feeling extra saucy, add this move onto your leg extensions from above.
Instead of bringing your leg back down and in, keep it straight and high, then drop the ankle and try to kick your butt. Do this for 30 – seconds.
Don’t forget to do the other leg. If you started off on the right leg (like Alex did), don’t forget to go through this flow on your left!
You can check your progress by sitting with your legs spread out as far as they will go without bending your knees and leaning forward. The goal would be to get your elbows to the floor with a flat back or your chest to your thighs.
Hope to see you in class!