If you were attempt to do the middle splits right now, we’d put our money on the fact that you probably wouldn’t be able to get your butt to the ground (unless you’re a gymnast, of course). And neither could YouTuber Henry Vo. So to challenge himself earlier this year he decided he would master the middle splits in 30 days.
“I’ve never really been that flexible, but I’ve always wanted the ability to just drop into a split out of nowhere,” says Vo.
After doing some research, he came up with a 30-day stretching plan that would help him accomplish the feat. To start, that meant warming up. Vo chose to do front-to-back and side-to-side leg swings. After that, he stood for two minutes in the ‘horse’ stance to stretch his groin. Then, he stretched both of his hamstrings for 2 minutes each. Next, he spent two minutes each stretching each of his hip flexors. And finally, he grabs a foam roller and rolls out his thighs for one to two minutes.
From there, he got to focusing on his splits. He notes that he spent 10 minutes total each day in the splits, using yoga blocks to rest and support his upper body.
“The first couple days were honestly kinda rough. I wasn’t getting down very far, and my legs were hella sore after stretching everyday,” he says.
After realizing he was experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), which eventually went away. Throughout the journey, every couple days he gave himself a rest day to let his muscles heal and relax. Around Day 8, he started to see some real progress.
“It was still really uncomfortable, but I was just happy to see some actual results,” he says.
He kept up with the routine, but hit a plateau on Day 13 where his hips started to hurt, and his legs wouldn’t let him go down any deeper. He turned to anatomy to figure out what was going on.
“During a middle split, you’re eventually going to reach a point where your femur and pelvic bone start rubbing up against each other. And that is no good!” says Vo.
To fix it, he notes that before your hips start tightening, you should push your butt back and drop your hips down and forward. This is going to cause your pelvic bone to rotate forward, and give you enough room to keep stretching further.
To break the plateau, he needed to apply proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF), which helped him start to flex his legs at the bottom of the splits, imagining pushing his legs through the floor. And by Day 29, he hit his goal of the full splits.
“I DID IT! LET’S GO!” he yells.
As he signs off, he adds that you shouldn’t compare your splits journey to anyone else, and that you should listen to your body and work at your own pace. And don’t go too far, too fast.
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