Yes, the headline of this post says it all: I want to be able to do a split. Why, you may ask, would a 35 year old woman want to do a split? I just do. Call me silly but it would be nice to be able to.
And I’m so far away from managing to do it. See the picture below? That’s me trying to do a split, that’s how far I have to go.
Yep, that’s as far as I manage and it really hurts as well. That fat around my waist and thigh looks painful too…
I think that most people would be able to do a split if they did enough stretching exercises. I used to be able to do a split 15 years ago, when I was 20. I haven’t been very active at all since then so my flexibility has slowly decreased so much that now I’m often quite shocked to see how stiff I’ve actually become.
I danced a lot when I was younger but started it quite late, at the age of 14. I really wanted to become a dancer and was worried that I wouldn’t make it because I had so much catching up to do (most dancers start so very young). I was determined to make it as a dancer so I had all these goals. One of my first goals was to do a split. I started dancing in the autumn and by Christmas I was able to do a split. I did stretching exercises pretty much every day though – sometimes for hours, that’s how determined I was.
How to stretch
If you want to do a split you will have to focus mainly on two muscles: iliopsoas (hip flexor) and hamstring. I found a site that has good information about these muscles and pictures of exercises that you could do to stretch these muscles:
A good way to improve flexibility is to do static stretching, which means that you stretch the muscle until you feel the tension and then stay there for a while, breathing calmly in and out. As you breath, you’ll see that slowly you’ll be able to go further in the stretch. Don’t bounce or push it too far, just stay there and breath. You shouldn’t do this type of stretching before a workout, some experts say you shouldn’t do this straight after a workout either. Instead you could stretch later in the evening, hours after your regular workout or after a walk.
I sometimes stretch on my bed before going to sleep, while I read a book or a magazine. As you can see from the picture above, I really should do a little bit more though!
Split challenge for myself
So my plan now is to stretch these muscles regularly. I will keep you updated on my progress!