Happy Friday, everyone and welcome back to From the Top! Today we’re are going to be talking about the Holy Grail of all of stretches: the splits! The splits are hands down one of the most coveted stretches to achieve because it’s your first big step into the world of flexibility. It’s a stretch that has a lot of hype and yes, it is important to put this stretch on your list of goals. As a dancer, it is important to have both your right and left splits but let’s be honest, sometimes it can be a little difficult to achieve them. However, despite its difficulty, there is a way to achieve them safely and effectively! So, how do you get your splits without tearing yourself in half? Have no fear, Lexi is here and I’m about to share with you how you can reach your goal!
“Don’t Fall For The ‘Get Splits Quick’ Gimmicks”
You’ve seen them. “GET YOUR SPLITS IN THREE DAYS!” Riiiiggghhhttt. Trying to get your splits in a super short amount of time is a quick way to injure yourself since it is a very odd stretch. I mean, you’re splitting your legs two different directions while your torso stays pointed into a whole different direction. Weird, right? Now, don’t get me wrong. There are people in the world with the natural gift of flexibility or have muscles that adapt easily to new situations that makes it easy for them to achieve their splits super quickly. However, everyone is not the same and it’s not very realistic to be able to achieve your splits overnight. So, my biggest tip to everyone is to be patient and listen to your body. If you just relax and allow your body to get used to the new trick you’re having it learn, your splits will come right along effectively, safely and correctly, which we will talk about here soon. You may not get them in three days but you’ll achieve more sooner than later.
“Stretch Once A Day, Almost Every Day”
This was the one thing I dreaded doing the most! But if you want to get your splits you have to stretch almost every day and there is absolutely no way around it. Believe me, I tried to find one. “Well Lexi, why do you say almost everyday? Aren’t we suppose to stretch every day?” Yes, it is a well known tip in the dance industry that we should stretch every single day but we still have to use wisdom. When you’re stretching intensely to reach a goal such as the splits, you may want to give your body a day or two to rest. When I was working to achieve my splits many moons ago, I would stretch Monday – Saturday and I would take Sunday to rest. It helped my body recuperate and also helped with muscle memory. It’s like it gave my muscles some time to retain what is has been learning. So, I highly encourage for dancers to take at least one day to let your body rest.
“Stretches To Help You Get Your Splits”
Now let’s into the fun stuff: the stretches!! Firstly, before every stretch session, make sure you are warmed up. This decreases your chance of injury by a landslide and without it there is a 100% chance that you will get hurt! Good ways of warming up are by doing things like cardio videos, dancing around to your favorite playlist (my personal favorite) or even doing a virtual ballet barre warm-up video on YouTube! A sure way to know you are warmed up is by sweating. Don’t tire yourself out but definitely get your sweat glands going before you start. That way the stretch session can also aid as a nice cool down.
Below are a few stretches you can do to help achieve your splits. These are by no means the only stretches that will help you get your split but they definitely make a big difference. Make sure to hold each of these for 8 full counts.
• Standing Toe Touches – With your legs hip width apart, lowing roll your upper body down to touch the floor as much as you can. After you’ve held this for 8 counts, stretch toward the right foot for 8 counts, then stretch towards the left foot for 8 counts.
• Sitting Toe Touches
• Straddle Stretch
• Knee-to-chest – Lay on your back and bend both of your knees. From there, using your hands for support, bring your right knee to your chest (hold there for 8 counts) and then extend your leg all the way up (hold for 8 counts). Repeat on the other side.
• Jazz split– While sitting on the floor, extend on leg out in front of you, while keeping one leg bent behind you.
Now it’s time for the main event! Start by facing the wall with your hips square. Extend your front leg in front of you, now extend your back leg behind you, slowly slide down, using your hands for support until you cannot go any further. Where ever you are in your splits, hold this stretch for no longer than 10 seconds to start. If you feel a painful pull in your muscles or a burning sensation, get out of your split immediately. This means you are pushing yourself too far and your body is telling you to stop. The one thing that is more important than a split is your safety! Take your time, don’t rush and as you stretch throughout the week, you will get lower and lower until you finally reach your goal of a full split!
I hope these tips are able help you get a little closer to your goal! For more tips on all things dance, make sure you follow us on Instagram @fromthetopdb and meet us right back here every Friday for a new blog post. Have a great weekend and remember…