My 5-year old daughter recently started back up with her gymnastics classes, and she is totally determined to get to do a full split. I thought this would be a great goal for us to work towards together, so I developed this 10-minute stretching routine for us to do at the end of the day to wind down and get ready for bed and work towards our goals.
It’s been a nice thing for us to do together - and we’re both getting results! My daughter is so close to a full split and I finally got my front leg straightened out. Not to mention this routine will help with your standing splits.
In this post, I’ll share with you the 4 stretches you need to do daily in order to achieve your full split.
Before you begin, there are some precautions you need to be aware of. The point is to push your stretch as long as it feels good. If the stretch feels really intense (even if you can take the pain), or if your limbs start shaking that means you should pull back a bit. You don’t want to over-strain your body. Not only is it painful, but you will likely be sore and unable to stretch for days which will derail your efforts anyway.
I find that it’s great to practice this routine with socks on, in an area with hardwood floors if possible. You can fold up a towel and place it under your knees if this makes them uncomfortable. Using socks on the hardwood allows you to gently slide your heels out a little at a time to gently deepen your stretch.
Stretch #1 - Straight leg with forward fold
These stretches aren’t actual yoga poses so I’m getting creative with the titles here. Basically, with this stretch, you have one leg outstretched in front of you while kneeling on your opposite knee.
To begin, start with your knees on the floor and your body upright, i.e. not sitting on your calves, but upright as if you’re standing up, just on your knees. You can curl your toes under or not, whatever is more comfortable.
Extend one leg straight out in front of you and place your heel on the floor, toes up to the sky. Straighten the leg and gently fold forward as far as you comfortably can. Try to keep your spine straight and hinge at the hips. Keep the hips facing forward, do not roll open.
You’ll want to hold this pose for about 20 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
Stretch #2 - Baby forward split
Next, stay in the position you just left off in and rock your body gently forward while bending the front knee. Try to pull your hips down to the floor with your thighs in this split position.
Again, 20 seconds, 2 - 3 times.
I like to rock back and forth between these two stretches for a bit.
Next, you can gently push your feet out in opposite directions trying to straighten your front leg while keeping your hips forward - starting to go down into a split. This will not look pretty people! Don’t be hard on yourself if it doesn’t look great right away. We’ve been doing this routine for a couple of weeks now and I’m only just starting to get that front leg straight and my hips are far off the floor still. I considered myself pretty flexible before this and can execute a full forward fold with my forehead touching my knees.
After you’ve worked on your front splits, you can try out the center style.
Stretch #3 - Center split on a wall
This is fairly easy. If you’re familiar with the legs up on a wall yoga pose, then just go there and skip to the end.
You’ll want to position your body close to a wall and lie down in front of it with your bum touching the wall or as close to it as possible and your legs resting straight up on the wall.
Separate your legs opening up like a center split, but only as far as feels comfortable. Gravity will help you to slowly and gently deepen the stretch. Repeat 2 - 3 times for 20 seconds.
I hope you enjoy stretching out to gently work towards a split. It takes time and daily dedication, but just 10 minutes a day can make a huge difference in your flexibility and can get you to where you want to be!
I’ll keep you all posted on our progress!