Sure, acquiring the knowledge of how to perform a split can provide you with an entertaining party trick, but the benefits extend beyond merely impressing others. Similar to other stretching exercises, the splits enhance flexibility, a key aspect that should not be overlooked in your fitness regimen. Flexibility contributes to overall mobility, which significantly impacts your workout performance and helps prevent injuries.
While it is not necessary to go to great lengths to learn how to do a split in order to maintain sufficient flexibility, it can be an enjoyable challenge to undertake. Even if you have not attempted this stretch in a long time, or ever, with proper preparation, you can gradually work your way up. Regardless of your starting point, the following exercises from Nike master trainer Rebecca Kennedy will assist you in reaching your goal.
Instead of forcefully pushing yourself into deep stretches, it is better to progressively build up to them, which is particularly true for the splits, as they are not easily achievable for many individuals. By utilizing certain equipment, you can use these exercises to ease into the stretch, minimizing the risk of straining a muscle. Practice this routine daily, and each time you will be a little closer to achieving a split. Although it may take time, you will experience improved range of motion along the way.
How to Perform Splits
How it operates: Execute each stretch for approximately one minute on each side.
You will need: A kettlebell, a plyometric box, a tennis ball, and two yoga blocks.
A. Stand on a plyometric box while holding a kettlebell.
B. Lower your chin towards your chest, then gradually roll down through your spine, bringing the kettlebell towards the ground.
C. Slowly reverse the movement and repeat.
Supine Hip Flexion
A. Lie on your back with your right leg lifted off the ground and your knee bent at a 90-degree angle. Position a tennis ball at your hip flexor, firmly squeezed between your hip and thigh.
B. Gently straighten your right knee to elevate your right foot towards the ceiling, ensuring that you do not release the tennis ball.
C. Slowly bend your right knee to return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.
Extend and Release Hamstring Press
A. Lie on your back with your left knee bent and your left foot on the ground. Straighten your right leg and place your right foot on the plyometric box in front of your body.
B. Bring your straightened right leg towards your face.
C. Gradually and controlled, lower your right leg to return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.
Hip Extension in Two Ways
A. Lie on your stomach with your right knee bent and supported by a yoga block, and hold a tennis ball at the back of your right knee where the calf meets the hamstring.
B. Elevate your bent right leg from the hip, lifting it a few inches to raise the knee off the yoga block.
C. Bring the right knee down to return to the starting position. Repeat this process on the opposite side.
D. Start by kneeling with your left foot forward on the floor and your right knee down on a towel. Ensure that your legs are forming 90-degree angles.
E. Move your right knee backwards slightly to enter a deep lunge.
F. Reverse the movement by sliding your right knee forward to return to the starting position. Repeat this process on the opposite side.
Lunge to Hamstring Extension
A. Commence in a plank position with your hands positioned under your shoulders and your legs extended behind you. Transition into a runner’s lunge by bringing your right foot up to the outside of your right hand.
B. Transfer your body weight back by raising your hips and straightening your right leg so that only the heel remains in contact with the floor.
C. Bend your right knee and lower your hips to go back to the starting position.
Modified Split Using Blocks
A. Position your body between two yoga blocks, kneeling on your left leg and extending your right leg straight in front of you.
B. Place your hands on the yoga blocks while extending your left leg straight behind you.
C. Lift your chest up. This should resemble an elevated split.
Over time, you will be able to gradually bend your arms from the modified split and slowly lower your hips to the floor, transitioning into a full split.
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