I like to think that my journey towards a stronger, more mobile body capable of more and more skills is a non-stop one. Even if the pace is a snail’s one at times, it’s better than no pace at all! The latest venture that I’m pursuing in order to accomplish this vision is the ability to perform forward splits with either leg forward and side splits.
You’re probably wondering why I’ve chosen such a bizarre fitness goal for 2017, and as you can see by the totally flattering image of myself above, stretching this deeply is not an easy nor comfortable process. However- when you look at the benefits of regularly practicing the splits pose, you’ll see that NOT working on your splits pose is bizarre! Let’s look at the why:
1. They Open The Hip Flexors
Every fitness professional in the past decade has talked to their clients and other professionals about Upper and Lower Crossed Syndrome. These two conditions are compensations of weakness and tightness in the muscles caused by long exposure to sitting and inactivity. In Lower Crossed Syndrome the glutes become weak and the iliopsoas extremely tight. This condition isn’t exclusive to the totally sedentary either, even the active in Western culture are still subject to long periods of sitting (Hell, I’m sitting on a chair while I’m writing this). When active steps such as splits work isn’t taken to improve hip flexor health, everything from back health, posture, breathing, and even squat technique will continue to suffer and degrade.
2. Active Hamstring Flexibility
Ask the average person to try to touch their toes, most people won’t be able to do it. Again- a life of moving from classroom desks, to cars, to office chairs has left our poor hamstrings immobile and weak.
Splits work can alleviate this to ensure that our hamstrings are not only more flexible, but also stronger from a wider range of motion. Not only will this take away from quad dominance, but also help our bodily control and strength for deadlifts and single-leg deadlifts. Practically speaking, these improved deadlift motions will help our day-to-day movement and lifting- sharply reducing the risk of back injury!
3. Improved Athletic Performance
Expanding your splits can benefit more than just gymnasts and dancers. Improved hip mobility will help provide more power in a running gait, a skate stride, and even vertical jumps. Splits stretching is also common for martial artists and hockey goalies to apply practically (i.e. kicks and pad saves).
Now that I’ve gone over some of the benefits of developing the splits let’s take a look at how! Hold each position shown for 1 minute each, with the exception of the lunge. Check the video below for a step by step instruction of how we can increase our splits capacity*:
Do you commonly work on your splits and hip mobility? What are your techniques for your personal and client hip mobility? Let me know in the comments and on my Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
*The video content of this post will also be released on my Facebook and Instagram. Please go easy on me as this is my FIRST time doing an instructional video! I’ve learnt from this experience and will be creating scripts and using more suitable environments in the future.