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What Is the Fastest Way to Increase Flexibility for the Splits?

author image Jona Friedman
Jona Friedman began writing freelance articles for the "Sacramento Bee" in 2009. She has been a personal trainer for over nine years and holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Long Beach State University. She has worked for California Family Fitness, Bally Total Fitness and Golds Gym. She is also a NASM-certified personal trainer.
What Is the Fastest Way to Increase Flexibility for the Splits?
A woman is doing the splits.

Splits are a typical maneuver for cheerleaders, dancers and rhythmic and artistic gymnasts. To execute, they require plenty of flexibility in your hips and legs. While some individuals are naturally flexible and achieve the splits easily, others may have to train a little harder. Stretching your lower limbs at least once or twice a day is usually the fastest way to gain enough flexibility to accomplish the splits.

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Step 1

Warm up your muscles with light cardio activity before you begin stretching. This prevents injury and enhances blood flow to your muscles so they are prepared for stretching exercises. Aim for five to 10 minutes of walking or light jogging per session.

Step 2

Stretch the back of your thigh using a hamstring stretch. Lift your right foot up on a solid surface such as a ballet bar, bench or chair. Once your leg is parallel to the floor, lean your torso toward your knee as far as you comfortably can. Hold your right ankle with both hands and remain in this position for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat with your left leg and do three sets per leg. Do this twice a day.

Step 3

Attempt the middle split position by standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart. Bend over and place your palms face down. Slowly slide your legs out until they are parallel to the floor or they have reached as far as they comfortably can. Place most of your body weight on your hands while you stretch. Hold this position for 20 seconds, relax, and repeat three times. Do this twice a day.

Step 4

Sit on the floor to do a butterfly stretch. This stretches your inner thigh and groin area, which must be flexible to accomplish the split position. Bend your knees and place the soles of your feet together, as close to your body as you can. Hold the tips of your toes with both hands, while placing your elbows on the crooks of your knees. Lean forward with your torso and try to get your chest as close to touching your feet as possible. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, rest and repeat three times. Do this twice a day.

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