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Train yourself to do the splits

 
So, you wanna' learn how to do the splits?  Increasing flexibility takes time and hard work, but if you stick with it, you'll def see results.  Keep in mind that some bods are more flexible than others, so be patient and kind to your muscles.  Check out our split-tastic tips and get ready to stretch out your vacay.  For 49 other ways to make this summer amazing, check out page 72 of GL's June/July issue.

 

Split Tip 1: Heat things up

Don't forget to warm up!  Before you attempt any split positions, do some lighter stretches that focus on your hamstrings and inner thigh muscles.  It also helps a lot if you exercise before you try a split.  The warmer your muscles are, the easier it will be to get farther down in your split.  Whether you like to run, dance, or play capture the flag with your neighborhood pals, do some sort of athletic activity first.

 

Split Tip 2: Time yourself

When you're stretching any of the muscles that will help you get down in your splits, it's important to hold that stretch for 30-60 seconds.  Get a clock, stopwatch, or better yet- listen to a minute of music to make sure you're puttin' in the time.  And remember, you don't have to be in the split position to perfect your splits.  Try standing with your feet about a meter apart and stretch to the ground and then alternate stretching towards each foot.

 

Split Tip 3: Go above and beyond 

One trick to getting down lower in your split is to overextend your leg.  Place your foot on a mat or a step before you slide into your split.  Hold it for 30 seconds and then try your normal split position on the floor.  Do you see or feel a difference?  Make sure that you square your hips when you're stretching.  This means that if you're doing a split with your right or your left leg, your hips are facing directly in front of you, not to the side.  If you're an aspiring gymnast or dancer, you should def remember to point those toes.

 

Split Tip 4: Buddy up

Another almost-magical tip to mastering your splits is to have a friend help you fatigue your legs.  Lay on your back with one leg flat against the floor and lift your other straightened leg above you while keeping your hips squared.  Have your friend stand on their knees over your leg that is on the ground while they hold up your raised leg.  Then, push as hard as you can with your leg that is in the air while your friend does their best not to let your leg move.  Hold for 15 seconds and then repeat, each time pushing your leg a little farther back closer to your head.  When you're done, try your splits on the ground and see what happens.  Make sure you do both legs.

 

Split Tip 5: Front and center

To work on your center splits, open your legs and press yourself against a wall.  This will help hold your stretch while you time yourself.

BY KARIN ELWOOD ON 5/23/2013 12:00:00 AM

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