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I need help with my flexibility!

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FutureNadia1234

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I've been working on my splits for about 4 months,I finally got them with my right leg so now im working on over-splits.My left leg is coming along,but not there yet.But I cannot do the middle splits[aka straddle] to save my life! Everytime I do one my hips feel like their popping out of place or something.

I also need help with my back and shoulders flexibilty.They need the work more than any other part of my body.

So does anyone have any good stretches for flexibility?
Also,does anyone know why my hips do that when I do a straddle?
Will I even be able to do a straddle without them doing that?
 

nicci1999

Active Member
Gymnast
Dec 21, 2008
799
NH
Work your hip flexors, that will help a lot. You can do this by doing a froggie stretch (picture a frog with its legs splayed out behind it) The goal is to get your legs flat behind you, and as close to your body as possible. A straddle split is a pretty un-natural thing to do if you think about it. And you may unfortunalty never overcome the feeling of your hips popping out of place, I have had issues with it my whole life,but if you take it slow and easy, and you're patient with it, it won't cause you issues later on, and you should be able to do a full split. Good luck!!
 
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peace.love.gymnast

Guest
For middle splits, you can lie on your back with your bottom slid to a wall. Put your legs up on the wall & open them to a straddle. Gravity will allow your legs to be pushed down slowly & safely to help with your splits. You could also use some light ankle weights to help too. (I hope this description helps!)
 
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FutureNadia1234

Guest
For middle splits, you can lie on your back with your bottom slid to a wall. Put your legs up on the wall & open them to a straddle. Gravity will allow your legs to be pushed down slowly & safely to help with your splits. You could also use some light ankle weights to help too. (I hope this description helps!)

I do that now,but not with the ankle weights.I'll have to try that though sometime soon.
 
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FutureNadia1234

Guest
Work your hip flexors, that will help a lot. You can do this by doing a froggie stretch (picture a frog with its legs splayed out behind it) The goal is to get your legs flat behind you, and as close to your body as possible. A straddle split is a pretty un-natural thing to do if you think about it. And you may unfortunalty never overcome the feeling of your hips popping out of place, I have had issues with it my whole life,but if you take it slow and easy, and you're patient with it, it won't cause you issues later on, and you should be able to do a full split. Good luck!!

I just tried that stretch and its great.I get the same stretch as trying to do it the normal way,but doing it this way it doesnt feel like my hips will pop out.
 

ryantroop

Member
Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
I personally dislike that stretch... not for any particular reason, it just... doesnt seem helpful...


You need to learn to relax, and let your body do its thing.. middle splits will come when you can allow your body to gain the proper range of motion - which comes from training your hips, tendons, and muscles to stretch in that particular way.


Many of us coaches have discussed how to best stretch, and a few articles have been written to explain what the best methods are - a lot of them dont agree...

The best results I have gotten always are those that come with natrual progression, and what I think is plyometric stretching (my terminology on it all is weak, but the method works). Basically, do your middle splits to a point that you have a comfortable stretch. Squeeze the muscles that you feel stretching for 15-25 seconds (some coaches say 30). It's HARD!! And that's ok. Keep that squeeze going. After that time, relax. You should sink a little further lower towards your split comfortably. I usually repeat the process 3 times in one attempt.

It is also well known that your muscles are more responsive to stretching after a good work out. So, you can work your splits before practice, and again right after your conditioning routine.

You can work flexibility at home by stretching while watching TV or doing homework. Point your toes, and keep in a stretch for a while. About 3 minutes a position would be ok. You dont want to stretch too far for too long. It comes with the natural perk of keeping your toes pointed naturally. Yay!

Shoulder stretches are tough... every day, take a towel or a broom stick and stretch as far as you can over your head, from behind (like handcuffs) and pull up, lean against a wall and stretch, practice eagle (dorsal) grips... just like your middle splits - keep it safe, and dont push past your comfort zone. Bridges, back walk overs, front walk overs, and front limbers will help your shoulders too.

Im sure others will put in their two cents... the approach to this is as variant as there are coaches, but they all focus on the same concept - be safe, dont push too far, and go slow so your body learns.

Good luck!!

Ryan
 

singnring

New Member
Mar 2, 2009
8
My daughter has been working on flexibility this season.
For her splits, her coaches told her to do the same tretches Ryantroop suggested.
They told her to go to the point of feeling the stretch without causing pain, and hold each split that way for 3 minutes.
She has gotten her left split. It came quickly because she is a gymnastics lefty.
Her right split has gone from 8-9 inches above the floor to about 3 inches.
Her center split has gone from 9-10 inches to about 4.

For shoulders (we just started this recently), we pull her arms to a stretch in every imaginable direction; backwards, forwards, sideways, and any other way they go!
We hold each one for 30 seconds.
We have noticed a small improvement, but since we jjust started, it hasn't been much.

The key is to give it time!!
Don't expect miracles. You must retrain your muscles to stretch out farther than they are accustomed to doing. With time, they learn.
Be patient and don't push too hard too fast.
Better to take longer to get to the goal than to injure yourself and never make it at all!
Remember, safety first!!
 

Linsul

Active Member
Sep 19, 2008
876
Pripyat
I had some girls that wanted speedy splits. What we did is a lunge stretch first. lead leg out in front, straight, they're up on their back knee. Bend the front leg and lean forward into the stretch. It stretches the hip of the back leg. Then they straighten the front leg again, and bend forward. Instead of getting their nose to their knee, their goal is to get their tummy to their thigh, with forearms on the ground on either side of their leg if possible. Then we do the splits in a comfortable stretch with good posture for 3-5 minutes. After that, we elevate the heel of the front leg on either a full panel mat or a few folds of one. Middle splits you can pick either leg for heel elevation. We do that for about 45 seconds to a minute. After that throughout the workout the girls sat in their splits between stations. Elevating your heel at home is easy if you have a phone book, you can open the book if it's too high or just use it as is.

That was for girls a few years back about 6 inches away from splits who REALLY wanted them to get on the L4 team. Personally I think splits are more a matter of persistence than time. If you do them everyday comfortably when you can for a few minutes at a time, you can't not get them. If you stretch super hard once a day every 3-7 days...get used to where you are. I think confusion surrounds the word 'comfortably;' so to clarify: that doesn't mean splits you can't feel a stretch in, it means a stretch that doesn't have you shifting and bouncing, or tearing up in massive discomfort. If you're stretching you should feel it!

For shoulders I really like doing bridges and rocking back and forth from feet to hands. Gently for the first 5 times or so, tuck and roll. Do it again, this time trying to press your shoulders a little further with each push forward. Niether your hands or legs should move or slide from the starting position, and if you can press forward through the shoulders until your legs are straight that's as good as it gets and you may as well try to kick over! I like the other stretches mentioned too, but this one is my favorite.

If your backbend/bridge is already shoulders over wrists or slightly past, and with straight legs, I have a gem my coach used to make me do. Lay down, put your arms over your head, bend them and grab your opposite elbow in each hand. Lift your hips and arch your back so your in a bridge with your forearms on the floor rather than your hands. I wouldn't rock in this position until completely used to the stretch. Unless you're related to gumby you WILL feel it.
 
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