Splits in One Day: Possibility or Preposterous?

Key Points

  • Being able to perform the splits involves developing flexibility in several major muscle groups.

  • Achieving the splits takes commitment and practice.

  • The process is different for everyone, so being able to do splits in one day may not be a possibility.

  • While some may easily do splits in one day, other people must follow a specific stretching and flexibility protocol to achieve them.

Graceful ballerinas, martial arts artists, and athletes worldwide demonstrate their flexibility and prowess by flaunting a beautiful split form. For some people, this feat incites feelings of jealousy. When you consider bending over to tie your shoes a strenuous task, the last thing you may think about is how to do splits in one day. Mastering the splits is a coveted skill that requires a combination of flexibility, strength, and patience. 

Don't fear! Even if you haven't had any experience with flexibility training before, learning to do the splits is possible. It may even be possible to do splits in one day with some modifications. With the right mindset, techniques, and consistent practice, you can join the ranks of the split masters!

Limber up, warm up those muscles with a few jumping jacks, and get ready to dive into the wonderful world of splits!

The Importance of Flexibility

Are aches, pains, and tightness inhibiting your ability to complete daily tasks? Many people complain of back, hip, and neck pain, resigning themselves to decreased movement and stiffness. They do not realize that a commitment to stretching and flexibility exercises may greatly enhance their quality of daily life.

Woman doing a split

The Foundations of Strength Training and Conditioning defines flexibility as "a joint's ability to move through its full range of motion." Improved joint flexibility reduces your risk of injury, improves posture, and reduces incidences of chronic pain. 

Flexibility is necessary to perform daily activities like lifting heavy objects, sweeping floors, and even getting out of bed. Over time, unfortunately, habitual movements and poor posture reduce mobility in muscles and joints. Poor flexibility may lead to arterial stiffening. As you implement a combination of static and dynamic stretching into your routine, you turn back the clock for muscles and joints, restoring strength, and fluid motion.

Benefits of Flexibility Training

Whether you fancy yourself the next contortionist or simply want to bend and stretch with ease, you cannot underestimate the importance of flexibility.

Flexibility training increases the range of motion of a group of muscles and joints. It takes stretching to the next level of proficiency by encouraging you to make the mind and body connection while engaging in physical activity.

Increases Physical Activity

Much like weight training or cardio, improving flexibility is a type of exercise. This low-impact workout contributes to your overall health and well-being, helping you to remain more active and burn calories. Any increase in movement translates to better physical and mental health.

Reduces Muscle Imbalances and Injuries

Poor flexibility is a contributor to the development of muscle imbalances. Training programs that involve both active and passive exercises improve balance and coordination, even in elite athletes.

Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Exercise improves metabolic rate and supports healthy blood sugar levels. The added benefit of stretching for 20 minutes daily may also help regulate glucose efficiency. Even those with type 2 diabetes can lower glucose levels by incorporating stretching into their daily routine. 

Improves Back Pain

Specific static stretches improve lower back pain and promote greater mobility. A reduction in muscle tension through stretching also relieves pressure on the muscles and vertebrae of the lower spine, enabling more efficient lower body movement.

Practicing a middle split

Supports Better Posture and Balance

Stretching and flexibility training improves poor posture and balance. Older adults who participate in flexibility training significantly improve their posture and quality of movement. Improved flexibility and greater range of motion contribute to better balance and reduced risk of injury in individuals of all ages.

Improves Athletic Performance

Activities like yoga lead to more efficient athletic performance. Stretching may also be beneficial for preventing sports and exercise injuries. Including dynamic stretches in a warm-up routine helps with all types of exercises and sports activities.

What About the Splits?

Depending on your current level of flexibility, doing the splits might seem impossible. Performing a split has several benefits – including being an impressive party trick!

What are the other benefits of plugging the splits into your regular workout routine?

Deep Thigh Stretches

Performing hanumanasana, or the splits, requires you to deeply open the hamstrings and quadriceps. Easing into these open poses requires some preparation, as the act of slamming yourself down into full extension will have significant consequences. The reward of long, lean, toned muscles is well worth the effort of working yourself down into this pose over time. Slow and steady wins the race.

Open Hip Flexors

Most people have tight and taut hip flexors due to sitting for most of the day. Walking and running may also contribute to tight hip flexors, particularly if you don't take the time to stretch before and after. A proper split lengthens and fully engages the hip flexors, giving life to this extremely important joint.

Working on flexibility

Deepens Body Awareness

Performing a split without proper positioning is almost impossible. While this pose is challenging, another benefit of getting down and dirty is that you become acutely aware of nearly every muscle in your body. As you mindfully practice stretching, you develop greater body awareness and appreciation for your marvelous vessel.

Develops Perseverance and Patience

Nearly 90 percent of folks won't execute a proper split on the first try. Achieving deep opening, core strength, and correct alignment are all necessary to master the pose. A certain strength of mindset is also required. Utilize this powerful mindset in many other areas of life to make you more efficient and effective in daily activities.

Types of Splits

Contrary to popular belief, the standard front split is just one of many split positions you can play around with. Here are some of the more obscure split positions that work lower body muscles while strengthening and stabilizing your core.

Half Split

The half split, or training split, is the easiest version of the split because it only requires you to get one leg completely straight. The half split stretches the hip flexors as well as the glutes. Alternate which leg is in front and which is in the back to ensure a balance between both sides of the body. The half split is an excellent predecessor to the full split.

Front Split

Front splits require a great deal more flexibility in the hamstrings. Perform them by stretching one leg out completely in front and the other leg fully extended toward the back. Hamstrings and hip flexors engage deeply with a front split, but it may take some time to lower yourself to the floor in a fully extended position.

Middle Split

Middle splits, also known as straddle splits, are challenging but the benefits are significant. Work your way toward this ambitious pose by sitting on the floor and stretching your legs out to the side as widely as possible. Inner thighs get the brunt of the beating with a middle split, but you achieve long, lean, and toned inner thighs with the evolution of this stretch.

Man stretching legs

Jumping Split

Not for the faint of heart or beginners, the jumping split involves jumping into the air and landing in a split position. Yikes! The challenge of a jumping split is to land appropriately without injury, with legs fully extended and the pelvis on the floor. The jumping split takes significant strength in addition to flexibility and a little bit of chutzpah. 

Timeline for Split Success

Depending on your age, level of fitness, and level of flexibility, it may take days, weeks, months, or years to achieve a pain-free, proper split form.

Consistent steps and key actions breed results that are truly impressive, no matter what level of extension you yield. Can you achieve the splits in one week? Depending on your unique starting point, it is possible to achieve full split success if you commit, concentrate, and dedicate time to daily movement and stretching. Take these action steps to start seeing results and progressive flexibility.

Daily Stretching

Stretch your legs for at least 15 minutes daily. Incorporate deep, mindful breathing with stretches such as the butterfly stretch, forward leg stretches, toe touches, quadriceps stretches, and pigeons. 

Practice Split Movement

Once you feel warmed up, kneel on the floor and extend your right foot in front of you, bending over to place your fingers or hands on either side of your right foot. Slowly extend your left leg out straight behind you, using your hands to stabilize while you lower your hips to the floor. Try to hold this pose for one minute, breathing through any discomfort that may arise from lengthening and stabilizing muscles.

Repeat this pose at least five times on each side for the first two days, working up to two to three minutes of hold time on each side.

Working on increasing flexibility

Increasing Hold Time and Frequency

As you work through the next several days, increase your practice times to five times in the morning and five times in the evening. Your goal should be to hold for five minutes on each side. Continue to engage in mindful deep breathing and other leg stretches to increase your range of motion.

As you gradually build strength and stability, the hold time should become easier. You are building muscle memory, a powerful tool that enhances your flexibility and overall health as you commit to proper form and practice.

Tips and Tricks

When setting a goal for yourself to master the splits, please remember that this is a marathon move, not a sprint session. Get to know your own body and its limitations, take your time, and don't push yourself beyond what is physically possible. Strained, pulled muscles and other injuries significantly slow down your progress and prevent you from reaching your goal. Take these tips to heart when transforming your body.

Consult With Your Doctor 

Before attempting any new exercise endeavor, consult with your doctor or healthcare professional. Ask them specifically about adding flexibility training and mastering the splits.

No Bouncing

Steer clear of bouncing in an attempt to go as low as possible. This causes unnecessary stress on muscles and joints. Under no circumstances should you ever have someone push you down into a split position, as this could cause injuries that could set you back weeks and make even the simplest activities difficult. 

Use Assistance if Needed

Use resistance bands, yoga blocks, towels, and other assistive devices to help you achieve greater levels of flexibility and comfort while you go for the gusto. Listen intently to your body, and back off if necessary. Start slowly to yield the results you are looking for without unnecessary delays.

Wear Appropriate Clothing

Those cool images of guys on television and in movies going down in full suits and ties to perform sensational splits are a ridiculous farce. Wearing the proper clothing allows you to move as you should when attempting an ambitious stretch like a split. You feel more comfortable, and the seams on your less forgiving pieces of clothing might thank you.

Is the One Day Split Possible?

While it is technically possible to increase your split ability in a single day, your capability to do so depends on several factors: your current level of flexibility, the amount of time you've spent stretching and preparing, and how far you currently are from achieving a full split.

Woman doing full split

If you've been stretching regularly and are close to achieving a full split, then it may be possible to make significant progress in one day through focused, intense stretching. If you are a beginner, however, it is unlikely that you'd make it to the floor without significant discomfort and perhaps a trip to your local emergency room.

When it comes to setting the stage for long-term health, slow and consistent steps toward greater flexibility and greater health are the best recipe for success with minimal muscle and joint stress.

 Keep Up the Good Work!

Putting the splits on your list of fitness goals means you are ambitious and forward-thinking in your fitness goals! Continue to implement daily strategies and stretches for reaching your perfect split, and look forward to better health overall as a result of your quest to best this challenging position.

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