November 2017, I started stretching consistently for my front splits. I promised myself to stretch every night for one hour until I got my splits. About five months and 150 hours later.. I got my splits on both sides! Read more to learn about my front splits journey.
I started off with extremely poor flexibility and muscle stiffness from over 5 years of weight training that I needed to reverse. Growing up, I was never able to sit comfortably on the ground with my legs crossed without leaning back to use my hands as support. I also remember that I didn’t like tying my shoes very much because I had to fully bend over. For most of my life, I chose to just avoid it. I thought “Why be uncomfortable?”.
Over the recent years I got into the habit of noticing which things made me feel uncomfortable and I made those my goal. Flexibility (with a lot of hesitation) was one of them.
My goal was to gain flexibility as quickly as possible by learning proper technique. My first goal was to sit cross-legged on the ground without lower back pain. After that, I wanted to be able to touch my toes. The ultimate goal was to get my front splits on both sides.
Before stretching consistently…
Winter 2017, I decided to give stretching a try. At this point, I didn’t have much of a goal besides that I wanted stretching to not hurt as much as it did. I stretched about 2 times a week. At the end of each session, I would record myself attempting the splits.
I learned that warming up makes all the difference in being able to get anywhere close to the ground. I also learned that progress should only be measured at the end after you have warmed up and stretched. That way you can compare post-stretch improvements over time.
For the next couple of months, I continued stretching without proper form. As silly as this sounds, I never knew that flexibility had form.
Due to poor form, I ended up pulling my right hamstring twice and I couldn’t stretch for 4 months. All the progress I made went downhill and it was quite discouraging.
I learned that my weight-lifting mentality to ‘push myself’ didn’t quite apply to flexibility. The point of flexibility training is to allow your body to learn that you are capable of a much greater range of motion than you think you have. This re-learning process takes a lot of time, which is why flexibility requires greater consistency to show results.
My Front Splits Journey
[Nov 2017 – March 2018]
October 2017, I started taking pole classes which inspired me to approach flexibility in a new way.
Two things that led me to start stretching consistently
- Realizing that strength and mobility work together. After strength training for many years, my muscles got more stiff and this limited my range of motion.
- The importance of breathing, form and technique. Taking flexibility class made me realize how little I knew about stretching. I decided to be curious instead and learn how to train better.
November 2017 to March 2018, I stretched consistently every night and I started seeing the results. I knew that the key to staying consistent with anything is to know what’s driving you and to have a plan.
My Front Splits Journey in a Nut Shell
November to December – I created my night stretch routine. I started over by using yoga blocks to correct my form. I practiced breathing and learning how to be patient with my body.
December to January: I could sit comfortably with a straight back in my splits.
January to February: My legs were much straighter.
February to March: I focused on depth until one day I made the final touchdown!
What I Learned from my Front Splits Journey
- Feeling more flexible in the morning than I’ve ever been in my life.
- Warming up for the splits used to take at least 30-45 minutes, now it takes 5-10 minutes.
- What ‘good pain’ vs ‘bad pain’ is for my body.
- What square hips felt like! (flexy people jargon..).
- I created my own stretch routines: morning stretch, night stretch, splits routine for beginners.
- Improvement in overall flexibility has helped me achieve more advanced stretches (ex. King Pigeon).
- It doesn’t hurt anymore to bring my leg over my head (one step closer to being able to close car trucks!).
- I can do hair flips with straight legs in dance class.
- Learning to be patient with my body even on days where I wanted things to happen faster.
- Start a blog and YouTube channel to share what I’ve learned in my journey!
If you are just starting to stretch for the splits, here’s a Beginner Splits routine to get you started!
Flexibility is painful and it takes time but the results are so worth the effort. I hope that sharing my splits journey will help answer some questions you may have about getting started.