Stretches for the Splits!
I have been getting a few messages on what kind of stretches should be done in order to work towards a split, so I have finally put together a few poses that you can try out to improve your flexibility and to work towards a split!
Besides these stretches, I have also used Becky’s guide to improve my flexibility and work on my splits as well, so these two are definitely complementary! <:
1. Half Seated Forward Bend
This is to help you ease into the hamstring stretch. Try to keep your back flat, do not round your back, and hinge from your hips and move your chin towards your shin. Breathe deeply, inhalation to create space, exhalation to move deeper into the stretch. You can stay here for about 10 breaths. Alternate on the other leg.
2. Seated Forward Fold
This is a slightly more intense hamstring stretch as it stretches both legs at the same time. Similarly, hinge from your hips, keep your back straight, try not to collapse into the pose and round your back. Let your breath guide your movement - inhale to create space, exhale to move deeper into the stretch. Stay in this stretch for about 10 to 15 breaths, depending on how comfortable you are.
3. Bound Angle Pose
Shift your feet as close to you as possible. Hinge from your hips, do not round your back, and slowly move your chin towards your toes. Make use of your elbow to push your knees down slightly. Keep breathing and try to use your breath to let go of the tension in your hips. This is a great hip opening pose which will be really useful when you get into your full splits later <: You can hold on to this pose for about 10 breaths.
4. Towel Hamstring Stretch
I don’t really have a name for this, but this is a great hamstring stretch and it’s more intense than the previous hamstring stretches mentioned here. You can use a strap or a towel, make sure that your other leg is on the ground, flex your foot, and make sure that your hips are square on the ground as well. As you breathe, try to pull your foot towards you. Continue breathing and make sure that at every exhalation, you move your foot slightly closer to you until you’ve reached the edge. Remember, do not force into the pose as this might hurt your hamstring! Alternate on the other leg. Stay in each pose for about 10 breaths.
5. Wind Relieving Pose
Not only is this a great hip opening stretch as well, it is a good pose to follow up after an intense hamstring stretch as it helps to relieve the tension in your back and your hamstrings. Bring your knee close to you, make sure that your knee is going towards your armpit rather than your chest, flex your other foot, and look downwards such that you are reading the words on your shirt. This not only opens up your hips, it also helps to massage your ascending, descending, and transverse colon which is great for digestion! You should feel a slight pinch in your hips, but not too much! Alternate the other leg, and finish off by bringing both knees to your chest. You can stay in this pose for as long as you wish. (~10 breaths)
6. Child’s Pose
Bringing your knees to the side, big toes to kiss, and sink in between your knees for child’s pose. This is a great passive hip opening stretch, it also helps to relieve the tension in your back as well. A great pose to end off your stretches! <:
- Listen to your body! Do not rush into a pose, do not overstretch because you might end up hurting yourself!
- Be patient - splits do not occur overnight. I took months to get my right split, so don’t be too eager and be patient with your body! Remember, it will happen! <:
- Stretch after a workout or after your muscles have warmed up. You derive more benefits from a stretch that way, and you reduce the chances from sustaining an injury from overstretching!
- Rest days are extremely important!! I cannot stress this enough, resting your muscles is as important as stretching them! Your muscles needs time to rest, recover, and grow! <:
I also do #4 to the left and right with my stretch belt. Feels amazing