In gymnastics, cheerleading and dance, splits are some of the most impressive flexibility poses. Learning how to do a split takes time, patience, determination, practice and plenty of stretching. You shouldn't stretch cold muscles, so always warm up before you start with at least 10 minutes of light cardio, like brisk walking, jogging or cycling.
Seated Calf Stretch
Sit upright with your legs straight in front of you. Slowly bend forward so that your face is against your thigh or calf, depending on how flexible your are. Wrap your hands around the balls of your feet and slightly bend your knees. Use your hands to flex your feet. Hold this position for 20 seconds. Take deep breaths throughout the exercise.
Sit on the floor with your back upright. Bend your knees and place your feet against each other to form a diamond shape with your legs. Grasp your feet with your hands and bend your back forward. Use your elbows to push your thighs down to the ground. Hold this stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, then repeat it one to three more times.
Lie on your back with your legs extended in front of you and your arms down by your sides. Bend one knee and bring it as close to your chest as possible. Use your hands to pull it toward you. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds. Cross your bent knee over your body and try to place the knee on the floor. Hold this for 10 to 15 seconds, then switch legs.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Sit on a bench with your back upright. Straighten one leg out in front of you. Place your hands as close as possible to your heel for support. Slowly bend your back forward so that your face comes close to your knee. Hold this position for 20 seconds, then switch legs.
Runner's Start Stretch
This stretch is also called the psoas or iliopsoas stretch. Kneel on one knee. Keep the thigh of your top leg parallel to the ground. Maintain a tight, erect upper body and lean your hips to the front to feel the stretch in your inner thighs. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, then switch legs. If it hurts to kneel on your bottom knee, you can use a pillow or mat as a cushion.
- Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images