Improving flexibility can be easy, fun and have long lasting benefits for the entire body. Increased flexibility will benefit anyone, from martial artists to regular people and almost every would love to know how to do the splits or how to improve flexibility in general.
How To Do The Splits
Learning how to do the splits is easy! That has to be your mindset. Remember that flexibility is not something that should take years and years to achieve. In fact, you can think of the splits as a base level of flexibility. It is your black belt in martial arts. Originally the black belt was given to people who showed they had mastered the basics rather than being the ultimate goal. If you have this mentality with the splits, you will see that it is simply a stepping stone to reaching much larger goals. You should choose a path therefore that doesn’t require years of painful stretching and meagre gains and instead focus on methods that keep helping you towards flexibility consistently.
Frequently asked questions about the splits
- Can you learn how to do the splits fast? Yes! Absolutely!
- Can everyone learn how to do the splits? Yes! Absolutely!
- How long does it take to learn the splits? If following a proper system, it should not take more than 3 – 6 months.
- Which system is the best? You can check out my flexibility course reviews.
- My bones feel like they are getting in the way of my split. Can I fix this? Almost certainly. You probably simply need to adjust your hip rotation. It is VERY RARE for our skeletons to truly get in the way of you achieving a full split.
Why Do You Want To Improve Your Flexibility?
If you’re here then you probably fall into one of three categories:
1. You have never stretched before and feel tight just bending over to pick up the newspaper.
2. You have tried to stretch but now want to actually learn how to improve flexibility. Maybe you tried but never followed through because of pain, lack of improvement or perhaps life got in the way and there was simply no time.
3. You may have hit a plateau after initial success. This means at some point, no matter what you seemed to try, your flexibility just didn’t increase. Maybe that’s where you are right now.
So why do you want to improve your flexibility? That is an important question to ask yourself because it will largely determine how you train your flexibility and what stretching program is right for you. If you want to become a good kicker then you will need to train in a different way than another person looking simply to learn how to do the splits. Identify your goals and check my flexibility program reviews.
You can all improve your flexibility
In fact, flexibility is not limited to age or body type. All it requires is discipline and correct techniques and perhaps a lifestyle change or two and you can be in the splits in no time.
Traditional Stretching Vs New Stretching Methods
When you think of improving your flexibility, you may be thinking of sitting in uncomfortable positions and straining unbearably for extended periods of time. This is a flexibility myth and it really doesn’t have to be the case at all. This idea that you have to strain and cause yourself pain not only holds you back, but it also causes people to stretch in very inefficient ways, leading people into groups 2 and 3 (see above).
Your stretching routines can be dynamic workouts that will push you into a sweat. They can conversely be relaxing meditative exercises. It largely depends on you as there are different types of stretching and different types of flexibility. Remember that there are many different paths you can take to improve flexibility. If you don’t like the view on one, take another, you can cut across at any time.
Remember that the only thing stopping you from improving your flexibility is your mind. A good way to start any routine, just as starting your flexibility training, is to clear your mind of negative thoughts and emotions about stretching and your ability to become more flexible. Know in your heart that you can and will become more flexible and you will be surprised how painlessly and quickly you achieve results.
Why Aren’t We All Flexible Already?
Our bodies have a stretch reflex for a very, very good reason. Without it, if slipping over, we could lose stability, fall over and simply crumple in a pile on the floor when walking on ice or slippery ground. Our bodies stop us from doing that by stopping our muscles from being able to go that far. We can override that through exercises that teach our body how to move again. Babies are naturally very flexible and naturally very strong with good posture. Just look at how a baby can sit on the ground perfect posture endlessly and then try it yourself!. We lose that natural movement as we teach ourselves to be inflexible and weak by sitting at our computers, sitting in our cars, sitting at our desks, sitting and lying down watching TV, sitting to have our meals, lying down reading books… You get the picture. These activities are of course necessary for most of us but it goes to show that naturally, we are all flexible, we have the muscle length needed to get in these positions, but we have taught ourselves to become inflexible. We have essentially practiced inflexibility.
You read that correctly. One cannot be found without the other. This is one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to get more flexible. Simply stretching will of course improve your flexibility but gains will likely be short lived and you will almost certainly hit a plateau. In order to make fantastic gains, get into the splits and keep those gains, a strength program needs to be implemented into your flexibility routine.
I don’t mean lifting weight at the gym. While you can of course do that, what I mean when I say strength is to build strength in extended ranges of motion. Look at the picture below:
The man on the left is jumping from a normal position. If someone told you to jump, you would likely get into a similar leg position, squat down and jump up. You would not attempt to get into the position on the right and then jump because you know you would not jump as high.
Why doesn’t the man on the right jump as high as the man on the left? This is because the muscles are not as strong in when they are in an extended range of motion as they are within normal ranges.
So how does this help me improve flexibility? Simple! A strong muscle – I mean strong in an extended range of motion – is much happier. Without getting into too much detail here these are the reasons you should build strength:
- Your body and brain will accept that position much easier. This means you will keep the gains you made.
- You will have less pain.
- You will be able to get back into that position much faster in your following flexibility sessions.
- You won’t plateau in your flexibility training – If you do plateau, simply build more strength and you will start seeing gains again.
- Most importantly perhaps – You will have functional flexibility. This means you will be able to get in and out of positions quickly and confidently. Check out the video below of Jean Claude Van Damme. Just with flexibility alone there is no way he would be able to do hold himself in that position (he really did that by the way).
So, build your strength. We have a bunch of tips on how to build strength to improve flexibility so check them out.
There are indeed different types of flexibility and different types of stretches and other exercises that help to achieve those types. Flexibility can be broken into 3 types:
- Static Passive Flexibility – This is the flexibility required when you are sitting in the splits on the ground for example.
- Static Active Flexibility – This is where you are using your own muscles to hold your muscles in extended ranges of motion. Holding your leg up in the air is an example of static active flexibility.
- Dynamic Flexibility – This is the flexibility required when your muscles are dynamically moving through ranges of motion. When performing a kick, the muscles in the kicking leg require dynamic flexibility.
All of these are vital to become a good martial artist, gymnast, dancer or decent sports person and they are all trained differently. Follow the link for more in depth information on different types of flexibility.