Updated: Feb 21, 2019
Let’s keep it simple when it comes to the splits. I see it it all the time where people hop into their splits without stretching. Stretching the involved muscles in a splits first is going get you more bang for your buck then hopping in cold. Even if you have your splits, you still need to stretch and why not stretch smarter instead of harder.
Getting your splits or even if you have your splits still means you need to stretch. The most effective time to stretch your splits is when you are warmed up and have stretched the involved muscle groups. Stretching before a workout does not help flexibility.
Most time effective ways to gain flexibility in the splits
Don’t stretch cold
Cold muscles do not stretch. The most effective time to stretch your splits is when you are warmed up. Static Stretching before a workout does not help flexibility. Seriously, studies from the past few year indicate that static stretching in not helpful at the beginning of a workout. Dynamic stretching, however, will improve flexibility. Go read our posts about static stretching and dynamic stretching from our other blog posts.
Stretch at the end of a workout.
Static stretching is best at the end of your workout or when you are warmed up. There is good blood flow in the muscles and the tissues and fibers of the muscles and connective tissues are warm and pliable. Muscles need time to relax and release for stretching. Even if you are warm, the working groups may be tight from activity and need time to open.Static stretching involves holding stretches for 30 seconds to 90 seconds.
Stretch involved muscle groups for the most effective opening.
In the front splits, there are a few muscle groups that can hold us back from splits: hamstrings, quads and hip flexors and calves. Before leaping right to the splits consider these stretches.
Forward Fold for Hamstrings
Don’t worry so much about the lengthening the spine at first, let your body surrender to the stretch and hold 30 to 90 seconds. On tight days you may want to do this stretch two to three times.
Lunges for Hip Flexors and Quadriceps
Definitely put something under the back knee. I use carpet, then a rug, then a yoga mat folded up. Take care of your joints. We want the front knee at 90 degrees, right over the ankle. The model is very flexible and she can bring the front foot forward to deeper her stretch. Listen to you body, we are looking for the feeling of mild discomfort in the stretch, not pain. Hold for 30 seconds to 90 seconds on each side.
Standing Calf Stretch
We always neglect our calves and they are part of the splits system. Use a pole or wall and step forward leg close to the wall, find a stance that allows the back heel to reach the floor. Press down in the heel of the back leg and open the calf. Hold 30 to 90 seconds on each side , look for a feeling of release not pain.