Anyone that knows me well, will know that I’m a big fan of a fitness challenge. In the past, I’ve done hamstring stretches for a whole month and I’ve also completed the 30 day squat challenge. After seeing lots of splits stretches pop up on my Instagram explore page, I decided this would be my next challenge. Could I actually get to do the splits in just 30 days?
Before I get any further into this, I just want to make a disclaimer that I’m not a qualified fitness professional in any way so please speak to your own PT if you’re unsure about preforming any of these stretches!
As I’ve admitted before, I’m not exactly very flexible – what with my love of running and high-impact fitness classes, my muscles are pretty tight most of the time – especially my legs. So going into the challenge, I wasn’t feeling very optimistic at all, but I set a reminder on my phone to try and do the splits every single day for the whole month and here’s how I got on…
Taking photos for the first day was when I realised I had an uphill challenge on my hands – man my hamstrings were soooo tight and it wasn’t a very pleasant experience. Some days I actually looked forward to having a small stretch session, but I’m not going to lie, some days it was a big ask! But each and every day I made sure I did at least 10 minutes of stretching. Most days I added the stretches at the end of a workout, but sometimes I just did the stretches alone after a very short yoga warm up.
Below I share the stretches I found really useful for opening up my hips and lengthening my hamstrings to ease me down further into the splits. And there’s also a video to show you my progress – including before and after pictures.
My spilts 30 day challenge
9 essential splits stretches
Quite a simple yogi move, which stretches out your hamstrings. You should focus on keeping your back straight and then reach down to the ground. To see my progress, check out this before and after.
Another yoga staple, also great for lengthening hamstrings. I find peddling out my feet here helps to ease me into it (and you can always bend your knees slightly while you’re warming up).
Perfect for stretching out your hip flexors, this pose gives a really nice release. You can also fold your top half forward and rest your head on the floor if your flexibility allows.
This is one of those yoga stretches that looks a lot easier than it is – be warned, the stretch along your quads will be INTENSE!
Another stretch that works those hamstrings. You can place your hands on your calf muscle and pull your leg towards you, but I prefer using a band for extra leverage.
Here I am not demonstrating full lizard pose (because I can’t do it) but it would involve lowering your elbows to the floor. I also found rocking backwards and forwards in this pose useful for loosening up your hips. But, I clearly still need to work on my hip flexibility!
Another one that looks easier than it is… The key here is flexing your foot upwards and keeping your back as straight as possible – then you will really feel the burn down the back of your hamstring!
When learning the splits, yoga blocks will become your best friends. Use them to hold your weight up as you gently easy into the splits rather than clumsily pushing straight down.
If you look closely, you will see my feet are on kitchen cloths. No, it’s not so I can clean my floor at the same time, it’s to make it easier to slide into splits. This technique also works if you wear socks on wooden floors.
So in conclusion to my question, can I learn the splits in 30 days? The answer is no! I am still a way off the floor and the difference between the before and after images isn’t massive. However, I do feel like I have made progress and I feel more flexible after a month of stretching. I think it will be a fair few months before I can drop into a fabulous split cheerleader-style, but I am going to continue my journey – perhaps not training every single day, but definitely adding in splits stretching to my regular yoga sessions.