Jul 19, 2017
Want to improve your Middle Split?
by samanthanewman | Dance, Entertainment, Fashion, Fitness, Flexibility, Lifestyle, Mobility | 0Comments
Hey guys! Welcome back again for a new blog post, I know it’s been a minute! The last month I was busy rehearsing and getting ready for my last show with Sensation, “The Final” in the Amsterdam Arena with an audience of 40,000 people. What a whirlwind experience every time, its been one of the my favourite shows I have had the opportunity to work on over the last 5 years. From the aerial work to the dancing to the traveling, its amazing! After that I was filming a commercial that will be released next week, and between all those busy days and fun work I’ve also been working on a new blog post for you guys! Inspired by the questions I get, this weeks article is focused on helping you improve your middle splits.
Becoming more and more flexible is on almost every dancers list of never ending dance improvements, and the middle split seems to be one of those main challengers. Being able to use it in your movement, for jumps in the air, or for that dope holiday picture on the beach (totally guilty), it’s a stretch that wows and also can improve your hip mobility and range of motion in your hip complex. But in order to make smart and functional flexibility gains, you should approach the stretch with the proper warm up steps rather than just supporting yourself in agony trying to lower yourself into a position.
Mastering your middle splits is often connected with the idea of flexibility and although flexibility plays a role, its mobility that is often forgotten. Flexibility & Mobility are not the same thing, but they do go hand in hand with one another. Your range of motion and ability to engage or stretch a muscle is connected with the mobility of your joints. So warming up those hip joints is so important for working your middle split along with stretching your glutes, hamstrings and hip flexors.
I have put together a stretching sequence to help you get started on improving your middle splits. There are other variations that I will share on a later day but these are just some of my favourite go to’s that help me. Watch the full stretching sequence video here, but first check out some details about each exercise your gonna do 😉 and don’t get all speedy Gonzalez, the video is in time lapse, take your time with each exercise!
Creating two 90 degree angles with both legs bent, or an S form, begin by leaning forward towards your front leg, supporting yourself with either your hands or elbows. Reach the stretch to each front corner and keep your butt cheeks on the ground. Continue loosening up the hip rotator by moving in a spiral motion towards your front leg, allowing your back bent stiffen to come up off the floor. Twisting back down towards your back bent leg and lowering your sit bone back onto the ground. This should be a gentle motion and nothing forced, lets say 30% effort. Switch into the other side by moving into a seated position with your knees open, supporting yourself with your arms behind you. Gently rotate one knee inwards and continue alternating legs. Repeat first sequence on the other side.
Similar to the first stretching position only with your back leg extended. This allows for a stretch of the front glute and back hip flexor. Depending on your flexibility you may need to support yourself with hands or elbows on the ground. Reach the stretch out slowly to each front corner as you continue breathing into it, focusing on a long not curved spine. Repeat other side…
Time to stretch out those hip flexors and hamstrings! I do this in a sequence cause for myself and like most dancers it feels rather static just doing one stretch at a time. Starting with your back leg bent and on your knee and front leg bent in front, slowly transfer your weight forward keeping your pelvis to the front and not twisting in the hips, and stretch out your rear hip flexor. Breathe into it and slowly come back up, repeat again trying to go further each time without pushing your front knee over your toes. If your comfortable with that try bending in your back leg with the support of your opposite arm for an even deeper stretch. Push up into a front hamstring stretch, again focusing on elongating your spine and not curving over. You can also put your hands on your leg to support you until you can touch the ground. Repeat same thing other side.
For someone sensitive to lower back pain and stiffness this stretch is heaven. Starting in for some a very comfortable position for others not at all, the asian squat. Depending on how flexible you are in your achilles, it may be tricky to keep your heels on the ground and allow your hips to fully relax down but you can use the support of your elbows on your knees if you aren’t there yet. Slowly push your knees inwards while resisting the motion by pushing your knees open with your elbows. Again be gentle, this is a 30% effort not full the F*$% out. Continue by extending one leg open and repeating that same resistance stretch on the bent leg, and repeat other side.
Hamstrings here we come! Laying on your back, bending one leg in and keeping your pelvis straight and no twist in the hips. Start with hands clasped and just behind and under your bent knee, continue by pressing slightly into your hands for 5 seconds as you try to bring your knee closer to your chest and then release and pull your leg closer to your chest, repeat 4-8 times. Switch your hands to behind your leg and support your leg as you do leg extensions, trying to maintain or increase the depth of the stretch by pulling your leg closer to the chest each time. Then with an extended leg, (I prefer with a flexed foot for that extra stretch) continue by slowly pulling your leg closer to your chest. Refrain from twisting in your pelvis or compensating by lifting up your hip to bring you leg closer to your chest. Resist against your hands pulling in as you try to push the leg down, hold for 5 seconds, release and again pull leg closer to your chest. Repeat the same on the other leg.
Support yourself from the front with either hands or elbows on the floor with legs bent at a 90 degree angle. Like the asian squat from Exercise 4 that you already did, but now instead of your arms as resistance, you have the floor. Imagine you are doing a hip adduction or trying to closer your knees together as you resist into the ground, hold for 10 seconds and release, slowly lowering your hips to the ground after each time. If you can, use a mirror and check yourself from the side to make sure you are sitting right up on top of your hips and your booty isn’t too far in front or behind. Then repeat the same sequence with one leg extended and follow with the other side. Take a break and repeat this stretch 2-3 times in total, be conscious of your breathing during every stretch.
So thats the stretch sequence to get your started on a flatter middle split. Hope you guys find this useful and remember I’m doing this to share and help others so if you have any questions feel free to connect, share this blog post or leave a message below! I love to hear from you 🙂
For those who also like some fun prints in their training sets, the outfit I’m wearing is from the MFIT fitness collection. Check out www.melaniquedesign.com to find your favorite set and use my Discount Code SamanthaMFIT for 10% OFF
Love your body, love the journey