Haven’t set fitness goals for the year? How about acing your front split.
When I started ballet, the first thing I really wanted to achieve was a front split. I gave myself a time frame of 1 month and got into the habit of taking the extra time to stretch properly after each gym session. This means that instead of the quick 5 min basic stretch, I focused on pushing out my stretch sessions to about 15 minutes each.
Don’t let the thought of another 15 minutes make you feel like these sessions will be eating into your day. I found that stretching actually gave me time to relax, breathe and take some time just for me – a kind of meditation and calmness session.
Stretching is a great way to elongate your muscles and ultimately achieve greater movement and flexibility within your joints. So these stretches are for everyone, even if you don’t want to achieve a front split.
So, what stretches did I do to achieve this and most importantly how long did I hold each stretch?
Each stretch was held for a total of 30 seconds initially, ensuring that these new position did not over pull and tear the muscle. Holding a stretch for any time less than this actually makes the stretches less effective.
Stretch One – Seated Toe Touch
Stretch Two- The Butterfly
While sitting, bring the soles of your feet together. Pull this position as close to the body as possible while keeping your back straight. Lean forward so as to achieve a deeper stretch – hold
Stretch Three- Seated Head to Knee
While seated, bend your one leg so that your foot touches your inner thigh of your other leg. Stretch your other leg straight out and pull yourself towards your knee – hold. Repeat on other side.
Stretch Four- Deep Lunge
Lunge forward with your first leg and drop your knee to the floor. Bring your arms forward and place your hands of either side of your foot. Do not let your knee go over your foot – hold. Repeat on the other side.
Stretch Five- Hurdler Lunge
Lean back from the deep lunge, leaving your leg in the same position. Bend forward so that your head touches your knee. Make sure to keep your hips aligned during this stretch – hold. Repeat on the other side.
Stretch Six- The Pigeon
While seated, slide your back leg behind you and keep it straight. Bring your front leg forward in a bend. Lean forward with your arms out in front of you. Make sure to keep your hips aligned during this stretch – hold. Repeat on the other side.
Stretch Seven- Front Split Hold
Lower yourself slowly into the front stretch position, as far as you can go without hurting yourself – hold. Repeat on the other side.
There are numerous other stretches that will help you achieve front splits, but the most important thing to remember, is that you need to stretch each and every day so as to improve your flexibility. Also remember to always warm up before attempting any stretches, as stretching out cold muscles can lead to injury.