Hey L*Space! Danielle Gray, founder of Train Like A Gymnast here! While strength and cardio training are extremely important, I can’t let you forget about stretching, rest, and regeneration. Sustainable training is vital if you want holistic overall health. A lot of my clients really want to improve their flexibility, mobility, get their splits, improve their lines, and be able to do more challenging skills and exercises. To help you do the splits, I’ve put together my 5 favorite stretches that will help you get there if you practice them regularly.
Split Stretch #1: Straight Leg Flexed Foot
Put one leg out straight in front of you with a flat back. Flex the front foot. You may place it against a wall if you choose. Use yoga blocks or place your fingertips or hands on the floor. Squeeze your quad so your kneecap is tight and your hamstring is elongated.
Split Stretch #2: Lunging Quad Stretch
Start in a low lunge with hips down. Bend your back leg and reach back for it with the opposite arm. This will help keep your hips square. Place your opposite hand on the floor or a yoga block and pull your heel as close as you can to your glutes. Feel the stretch in the front of the back leg.
Split Stretch #3: 90º Hip Flexor Stretch
Start in a tall kneel with your knees and hips at 90º. Tuck your tailbone under, squeeze your low abs, and place your hands on your hips. Press down through your front heel and imagine you are dragging your back knee across the floor closer to the front heel. Feel the stretch in the back leg hip flexor.
Split Stretch #4: Seated Leg Extension
Sit in a seated pike position (legs straight and together in front of you), lift one leg and grab either your foot, shin, or hamstring. You may also use a yoga strap, towel, or jump rope to help you keep your back straight and leg straight. If needed, you may sit against a way. Staying in a tall posture, lift the straight leg as high as you can without letting it bend. Keep your shoulders down and avoid pinching the hip. Create space and height.
Split Stretch #5: Lying Quad Stretch
Sit with your legs out in front of you, place your hands behind you, and pull one leg bent. Try to keep the heel in contact with your glutes/side of your leg. Keep your knees together and lean back as far as you can. You can be on your hands, elbows, or flat on your back. Squeeze the glute of the bent leg and push your hips forward to keep your knee from rising off of the floor.
After completing all of these stretches and holding each for 30 seconds to a minute on both sides, your body will be more prepared to slide into splits. I recommend doing a light warm up or warm shower before going into these stretches just so that it’s easier on your muscles. If you do these stretches and they help you get your splits, please share your progress with me @DanielleGrayFit!
If you like stretching and want to work on more, then head over to Train Like A Gymnast’s comprehensive flexibility program, Stretch Like A Gymnast to enroll or get on the waitlist for the next round! Happy stretching!