Updated: Feb 21, 2019
As discussed last week, it not helpful to jump cold into the splits and imagine you are helping yourself get the splits. If you are taking the time to stretch make it worth your while, make your body happy by stretching properly. 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 Effective Plan for Stretching the Center Splits
1. Stretch when you are warm
2. Stretch involved muscle groups
3. Stretch at the end of a workout instead of before
If you want to read more about why we recommend this try our Front Splits blog from last week.
The most effective time to stretch your splits is when you are warmed up. To learn about static stretching techniques, which basically means holding stretches longer to let the body open on its own accord, try our blog on Static Stretching for aerial arts. To read about Dynamic stretching techniques and how to add them to your flex program, again try our blog post.
Stretch involved muscle groups for the most effective opening
Lets take a quick moment to identify the muscles involved in a center splits. The muscle groups involved in a middle splits are: Hip flexors, hamstrings, adductors. We want to open these areas of the body before leaping right to the splits. First, because you can strain a cold muscle, second because stretching with a plan will actually help the splits happen, and third if we can open the muscle groups in the center splits gradually and with control we increase our flexibility with open and relaxed muscles.
Four Essential Hip Opening Stretches
Butterfly opens Hip flexors, adductors and low back with fold over. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds to 90 seconds. You can skip the fold over and let the legs relax into this pose. We recommend doing this stretch at least twice in a session.
The Middle Frog opens the hip flexors and adductors. Line up the hips and the knees, we do recommend using carpet, mats and padding under the knee, slide the knees apart to where the stretch is felt. Hold 30 to 90 seconds and try it twice.
This stretch gets the hamstrings, knee connectors, glutes. The center splits does require flexibility in the hamstrings. Take the legs wide and fold forward, it depends on flexibility and comfort, but you can lengthen the spine on the fold over in a yoga style or relax and round the back when you are starting this stretch, focusing on the legs. Hold 30 to 90 seconds, try it twice.
We are adding a lunge stretch to get into the upper hip flexors.You may feel this in the quadriceps as well. Place the back knee on a towel, use carpet and mats, definitely protect the knees. Line up the front leg with the knee over the ankle. Drop the hips downward to release the hips. Hold 30 to 90 seconds and get both sides.
Now try the center splits!