Remember the days when you could move and bend in all directions without breaking anything? Well, you still can!
Flexibility seems to stray farther and farther as we age. Our bodies seem to turn into trees and movement becomes quite constricted. Yet, flexibility has many health benefits. It increases blood flow, decreases the risk of injury to the muscles when taking part in activities and tones the body and also gives energy. With a couple of regular stretching exercises, you will be able to do the splits in no time. So, grab a yoga mat or go outside to the lawn and get stretching.
Before you run out the door and possibly injure yourself though, let’s start with a quick warm up. Before doing any kind of exercises, yes, even stretching, you must always do some warm-ups!
Get your blood flowing and heart pumping by running around the house or the block. You could also do a couple of lumber/jumping jacks or maybe you would prefer to dance to a favorite song or two? Whatever you do is fine as long as you do not skip this essential step!
Once you’re warmed up you’re ready to begin these stretching exercises. Do each exercise three to five times a day to begin, and hold each stretch for 40 seconds.
This is an easy one to do but if you battle, don’t worry—it will become easy in no time. Do the first couple of repetitions without your hands behind your back. Stand with your feet together, straight and relaxed.
Place your palms together and stretch your arms up towards the sky. Bend forward and lower your hands to the ground with your head on your knees. Keep your legs straight but not locked. Do this until your palms can touch the ground and your head lies comfortably on your knees.
Start in the same position as the previous stretch. Step forward with one foot and turn it slightly outwards. Move your hands down your front leg as you lower your head and body, placing your head just on the inside of your leg.
Hold on to your calf with your hands and gently push your body down until you can comfortably place your head next to your knee and your chest on your thigh. Slowly come back up and change legs to do the same on the other side.
Sit down on the ground and place your hands behind you, lying backwards slightly. Move your legs as far apart as possible to the sides. Sit up straight and place your hands on the ground in front of you.
Slowly move your hands out forwards, bringing your body forward as well. Go as far as you can and then go a little farther each day until you can easily put you head and chest down on the ground between your legs.
You can also go sideways for a change. Lower your body down on your leg and hold your foot. Do the one leg and then the other.
Stand sideways with your legs about four to six feet apart. Keep your back leg straight, bend the knee of the leg extended in front of you and lower your body.
First, place your hands on either side of your bent leg; once this becomes easy, place both hand on the inside of your front leg. Do this stretch on both sides with both legs. The idea is eventually to place both your elbows on the ground inside your leg with your forearms resting on the grass.
Sit on the ground and stretch one leg out behind you. The leg towards the front must be bent. Place your hands by your sides and gently lower your upper body down onto the bent leg in front of you. Once you can comfortably place your upper body on your bent knee, stretch your hands out, palms down on the grass.
This stretch will work the inner thighs and groin area. These two parts of the body are vital when attempting to do the splits.
Sit on the ground where you are comfortable with your legs stretched out forward. Bend your feet inwards and pull your knees up towards your body but sideways. Thus, your knees stay on the ground and your feet soles are facing each other.
Pull your feet in as close to your groin as possible. Now gently try pushing your knees down towards the ground. Do this with both knees simultaneously. Stop if it hurts; do not force them. Straighten your back, keep your feet together and slowly push down on your knees.
You will see and feel a daily improvement where your flexibility is concerned. Once you have completed your first week of split stretches, you can slowly attempt the splits.
After your split stretch exercise routine, take it slow and see how far you can actually split. Decide which split position you want to try first and then take these steps.
For a center split, you can try it either standing or sitting down. The idea is to spread your legs slowly apart. If sitting, open them as far as you can then raise yourself forward on your hands if you are able to without hurting your muscles. If you’re standing, move your legs apart slowly and lower your body to the ground as far as you are able to. Once you can sit up straight with your upper body, without tumbling over, and there is no more pain in the thighs, then you can do the splits.
For a sideway split, you can kneel on your left or right knee with the other leg extended towards the front. Place your hands on both sides of your body. You will feel the weight on your heel that is extended towards the front; this is normal. Now slowly extend the other leg backwards.
You can also do this from a standing position. Stand with your legs about two feet apart and turn sideways. Keep your arms straight and your hands firm with the palms facing down towards the ground. Slowly allow your legs to move apart, one forward and the other backwards. Lower yourself until you can comfortably sit on the ground in this position without any pull on the muscles. You can now do the splits!
Relax your muscles, take deep breaths and hold your stretch a little longer each day. Soon you will easily be able to do the splits without any effort on your part. Exercises, stretches and warm-ups should never be painful, but you must feel the stretch for it to work. If you feel any pain, relax and try again the next day.
Let us know if you have found this article useful or informative, and whether or not you have done your splits? If you have some stretches to add to these that may help our other readers, please share in the comments below.
I love spending time in the outdoors, riding motorbikes, reading good books and watching old movies. On the other hand I love cooking, clothing, fashion and fitness, therefore I spend hours researching and writing blogs, articles and more on these subjects.
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