Side splits or box splits are something everyone wants, but seem impossible to get. But not anymore.
When looking at a far off goal it’s easy to get disheartened. We keep telling ourselves, I don’t have it, why don’t I have it, this sucks etc. I should have the splits by now!
The first step is to ask yourself, what level am I at now? And accept it, be OK with it. If you start where you are you can progress smoothly, safely. Trying to jump in at a level that you think you SHOULD be leads to pain, poor technique, bad habits and worse case injury. Makes sense?
OK, back to the box splits. So you’ve worked out your level. Now it comes to choosing the right progression.
Sit down with your legs loose in front, then pull your feet in, soles touching, knees out and as low to the floor as possible. All of these progressions employ the ‘squeeze release’ method – come along to a flexibility class to find out exactly what this is.
Your partner stands behind and applies pressure on the knees using the squeeze-release timing. By standing as above your partner is able to use bodyweight to apply more intensity with less effort. Because in flexibility we like to be lazy.
We’ve got a little menagerie going on here. If your knees are touching the floor in the butterfly, it’s time to move onto the next progression. The them for this one is 90 degrees. Kneel on your hands and knees with a 90 degree angle at your knees, hips, shoulders and elbows. Then start to move your knees apart, keeping alignment. Alignment is key in flexibility for reduced injury, pain and to save years correcting bad habits. Sounds good?
Your partner applies pressure at the lower back or top of the thighs in the squeeze release method. Your goal will be squeezing your knees against the floor while they keep you pinned down.
Butterfly – Blocks
Increase intensity further on blocks. Same pointers apply as above.
Inverted Box Split
Final progression. Sit up close to the wall so you are literally sitting on the wall and your legs go up vertical, back on the floor. Then open your legs out in a scissor motion, knees locked. Stay loose and relaxed. Your partner applies pressure either to the calves or thighs – if you get pain in the knees then thighs are better. Go easy with this one and speak up if your partner is going too far as it’s a very intense stretch. Make sure you come out of the stretch slow as well or you will be walking like John Wayne (which may happen anyway – hey, he was kind of cool.)
Pretty much anyone can get a box split if they WANT it bad enough – yes you too. It’s all about doing the right things consistently.
If any of the above sounds confusing, book into a flexibility class and I’ll be happy to help out.