My Front Splits Journey (5 Month Progression)

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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.

Background

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]

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.

splits progress winter 2017 before

[Spring 2017]

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.

splits progress spring 2017 before

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

original splits stretch routine

December to January: I could sit comfortably with a straight back in my splits.

splits progression summer 2017 before

January to February: My legs were much straighter.

splits progression winter 2018 before

February to March: I focused on depth until one day I made the final touchdown!

splits progression spring 2018 before
journey to mobility youtube
YouTube: Journey to Mobility

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!

Conclusion

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.

See More of my Flexibility Progress:

How I got my Front Splits in 5 months | Journey to Mobility

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