7 Stretches For Doing The Splits That'll Help You Get More & More Flexible Over Time
Ah, the splits — the ultimate test of flexibility. They're impressive AF, and you've always wanted to low-key whip one out in the middle of a dance floor at a party. (or is that just me?). TBH, even if it feels like you'll never be able to conquer those tricky bad boys, incorporating a few simple stretches for doing the splits into your daily routine can help you get there one day. You just need to be a little patient, and yes, you have to commit to doing these moves on a regular basis if you really want to see some progress.
Honestly, some people are just #blessed and don't have to work as hard to be able to bust out a split. But if you're not genetically predisposed to have a bendy bod, it doesn't mean that you'll never be able to do them. Patience, young grasshoppers.
Splits seem like they require flexible hamstrings, and that's it, but they actually call for very open hips, groin muscles, and quads, as well. Plus, depending on the kind of split you want to achieve (side split or middle split), you'll have to incorporate different stretches — dedication, amirite?
Remember not to rush the process. With a bit of patience and consistency, the splits will soon be yours. But, if you push or force anything, it may lead to injury and frustrating setbacks.
So, if you're absolutely craving the splits but don't know where to start, here are seven stretches that will have you on your way to achieving all of your flexibility dreams.
1. Low Lunge
Low lunge pose stretches the hamstrings, quads, and groin — all of which will benefit you on your journey to the splits.
As you sink into this stretch, you'll feel the tension slowly melting away from your hips. It might be uncomfortable at first, but try to breathe deeply and work through the new sensations as you hold each side for about a minute — or two, if you can handle it.
2. Standing Forward Bend
Standing forward bend is a killer hamstring stretch that will prepare you to absolutely slay your side splits.
Listen to your body here, and keep a slight bend in your knees if your hamstrings are on the tighter side. You can measure your flexibility progress week by week by paying attention to how close your hands get to touching your toes.
Personally, I was finally able to do splits when I could step on top of my hands in this pose. You'll get there!
3. Reclined Hamstring Stretch
Lying on your back and giving your hammies some love is a great way to relax and open up your leg muscles for a side split.
Make sure that both legs are straight and your hips are squared. As you inhale, firmly ground your sacrum (aka the bottom of your spine). As you exhale, experiment with bringing the raised leg a little closer in toward your body.
4. Lizard Pose
Lizard pose is a great hip stretch, but it also works on your hamstrings, groin, and quads, too.
You can make the pose active by raising your back leg and engaging your core. Remember, that muscle strength is just as important as flexibility when it comes to achieving the splits.
However, you can also make this stretch more passive, and more about flexibility, by releasing your back knee to the ground. And if you can get your elbows to the ground, be sure to place a prop underneath them for support.
5. Pigeon Pose
Pigeon pose is another amazing hip-opener that helps with both middle and side splits.
This stretch might feel really intense when you're first starting out, but as you keep practicing it, it should start to feel really rejuvenating and relieving.
Make sure your hips are squared, and that your back leg is positioned directly behind you. Close your eyes, and envision how freaking amazing achieving your first split will feel.
6. Wide-Legged Seated Straddle
Incorporating straddles into your routine will help you so much on your journey to achieving middle splits. TBH, these bad boys are difficult AF for me, but practice and patience are key, my friends.
If you're attempting to fold over your straddled legs, make sure you come forward with a flat back to avoid any compression of your spine. The closer your chest gets to the ground, the closer you'll be to split victory.
7. Frog Pose
Frog pose slowly opens the deep inner thigh muscles, which are really important to focus on for middle splits.
Go really slowly into this stretch, and don't be discouraged if it's super uncomfortable at first. Personally, sometimes I just chill in this bad boy while I'm watching Grey's Anatomy. Does my family judge me? Yes. But I'm willing to make some sacrifices for those coveted middle splits, you feel me?