Keep your hips square when doing the splits.
The split is a challenging exercise that helps stretch multiple muscle groups at once, including the hamstrings, lower back, hip flexors and shoulders. Beside improving flexibility, the splits help decrease muscular soreness, reduce your risk of injury, improve physical and mental relaxation and reduce tension in the lower body muscles. Check with your doctor before attempting the splits, especially if you suffer from a prior lower body injury or medical condition.1.
Perform a light 10-minute aerobic activity like jogging, dancing or brisk walking to warm up your muscles. Warm muscles are easier to stretch and are less susceptible to injury.2.
Bend your right knee into a 90-degree angle and lower your body into a lunge position to prepare for the side split. Rest your left knee on the floor. Lean forward until you feel a stretch in your groin and thighs. Hold for at least 30 seconds before repeating on the opposite side.3.
Lie on your back and pull your right knee into your chest, keeping your left leg extended on the floor. Grasp your ankle, straighten your right knee and pull your leg as far as possible toward your head. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat on the opposite leg. For an extra stretch, ask a friend to push on your leg as you pull it toward your head.4.
Get into split position with your right leg forward. Keep your right knee straight and your back knee bent so that your left shin is flat on the floor. Supporting your weight on your hands, slowly lower yourself toward the ground as far as possible. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the opposite leg.5.
Repeat the entire sequence every day. Lower your body a little further each day until you are in a full side split.6.
Do the center splits by straddling your legs as wide as possible in a seated position. Point your toes upward and lean forward as far as possible, keeping your legs straight. Press your hands against a wall if needed while stretching. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Gradually widen your straddle each day until you are doing the center splits.
- For best results, keep your hips directly in front of you when doing the splits -- not to the side. Point your toes and keep your back straight throughout each stretch.
- Never bounce up and down when doing the splits, which can lead to pain and injury. Immediately stop doing the splits if you experience any pain. Readjust your position or take a break until the discomfort subsides.