When I first started training for the splits in 2017, I knew very little about stretching. After 5 months, I got my front splits on both sides! This was half the time I had originally estimated. How fast you get your splits really depends on your current level of flexibility. If you are someone who is inflexible, training for your splits can take months or even years of practice. For someone who is flexible, you may be able to get your splits in a few weeks if you train everyday. With that being said, everyone has the potential to become flexible. These 5 easy steps helped me get my front splits fast for beginners!
My Basic Splits Routine
If you are just starting to stretch for the splits, here’s a Beginner Splits routine to get you started!
5 Easy Steps to get Splits Fast for Beginners
- Warm up your muscles
- Be patient with your body
- Focus on active stretching
- Exhale to deepen your stretch
- Print out a routine and stretch everyday
1) Always Warm Up your Muscles
How it works: Muscles are like pizza dough -you must knead the dough before you give it shape. Otherwise it will tear. This is why muscles should never be stretched when they are cold.
You can warm up your muscles by performing dynamic stretches and strength exercises 10 minutes before you start stretching. When your muscles are warm, they stretch more easily. Warming up increases your range of motion and it makes your stretches a lot more effective. This is why flexibility should be measured at the end of a stretching session and not before.
2) Be Patient with your Body
How it works: The body has built-in mechanisms in place that prevent us from getting injured. Training for flexibility takes a lot of time and patience because we are essentially training ourselves to move beyond what our body thinks is “safe”.
The truth is, it takes time to get your splits. Stretching works by increasing the range of motion between your joints. The more flexible you are, the more you are able to move your muscles within your joints.
Although we want to see results fast, stretching requires the body to undergo a physical change and this is a gradual process. Make the process your goal by stretching daily, whether it’s 10 minutes a day or 1 hour. Hold yourself accountable, the results will come with time.
3) Focus on Active Stretching
How it works: Active stretching or ‘static-active’ stretching requires you to engage your muscles for 10 second intervals. Active stretching increases active flexibility and strengthens the agonistic muscles (1). Activating certain muscles will help other muscles relax, allowing you to deepen into a stretch. They are often difficult to hold for more than 10 seconds.
The opposite of active stretching is passive stretching or ‘static-passive’ stretching. This is when you keep your body at a relaxed state, allowing external forces (ex. gravity) to reach your desired range of motion.
To get your front splits fast, it’s important to stretch and strengthen your muscles by using active stretching techniques. Always maintain good form by keeping your limbs stacked over each other (ex. Hips square, knee over ankle). Be aware of which muscles are active when you are doing the stretch -where do you feel it? In your hips, hamstrings, calves? Depending on the stretch, practice applying force by ‘pushing’ against the ground or your hand in the opposite direction of the stretch for 10 seconds. Inhale then exhale and relax as you attempt to sink deeper into the stretch (ex. Adjusting to get your body closer to the ground or pulling to get your chest closer to your leg).
Practicing active stretches will increase muscle control to help you get into stretches more easily. Flexibility goes hand-in-hand with strength.
4) Exhale to Deepen Your Stretch
How it works: Fitness experts recommend exhaling on exertion (2). In other words, breathing out at the most difficult point. Exhaling allows you to deepen into a stretch. During an inhale, you are sending oxygen to your muscles. As you exhale, your muscles use oxygen as fuel to accommodate for a deeper stretch.
Sometimes, we forget to breathe when we hold a stretch. Breathing is very important because it allows your muscles to relax and elongate. Training ourselves to be conscious of how we breathe while stretching is essential for flexibility. Always inhale then use your exhales to ‘sink’ deeper into a stretch.
5) Print Out a Routine and Stretch Everyday
How it works: Every time you stretch, you are training your brain and muscle spindles to allow your body to gradually move passed it’s normal range of motion. Having a go-to stretching routine will allow you to stretch the correct muscles everyday and achieve your goals faster.
To get my front splits fast, I created my own stretch routine for the front splits. I referenced stretches from Tom Merrick, Emmet Louis, Sid Paulson and flexibility classes from the instructors at Redefine Fit. I made space in my room for stretching, drew out a quick routine and put it up on my wall. Download the stretch routine I used to get my front splits fast for beginners.
Download a Free Printable PDF: Night Stretch Routine for Front Splits
This routine will help you target the muscles you need in order to do the splits. Download the routine. Warm up. Do 2 or all 3 stretch sequences for your hip flexors, hamstrings and calves each night. Each stretching session should take anywhere between 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Hold each stretch a 10 second active interval then relax and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other leg. Be sure to use a block for each stretch to correct for form.
Stretching for the splits can take a lot of time. Thankfully, it’s possible for any beginner to get their splits if you learn how to stretch properly. What helped me the most was to have a routine that I could use everyday. Read more about my front splits journey and 7 effective stretching tips that helped me get my front splits fast for beginners.