I've been dancing for 16 years, and I learned how to do a split when I was very young, but a few years ago I was hit by a car and couldn't dance for almost a year, and when I started again I couldn't do one anymore. What stretches can I do to get it back? I'm 18 years old, and I've heard the older you are the more difficult it is to increase your flexibility. Any advice?
The following stretching routine is tailored specifically to the purpose of achieving the ability to perform both front splits and side splits. It consists of the following exercises:
1. lower back stretches
2. lying buttock stretch
3. groin & inner-thigh stretch
4. seated calf stretch
5. seated hamstring stretch
6. seated inner-thigh stretch
7. psoas stretch
8. quadricep stretch
9. lying `V' stretch
Don't forget to warm-up your body before performing any of these exercises. See section General Warm-Up.
Warning: This stretching routine contains exercises that, depending on your physical condition, may be hazardous to your health. Consult with your doctor before attempting any of these exercises. It is also important that you use great caution when performing these exercises since improper performance could result in injury.
Perform these stretches at your own risk! I cannot be held responsible for any injury which may result from you performing any of these exercises! See section Disclaimer.
The details on how to perform each of the stretches are discussed in the following sections. Each section describes how to perform a passive stretch, and an isometric stretch, for a particular muscle group. On a given day, you should either perform only the passive stretches, or perform only the PNF stretches, in the order given (see section Types of Stretching). If you perform the PNF stretches, don't forget to rest 20 seconds after each PNF stretch, and don't perform the same PNF stretch more than once per day (see section PNF Stretching). The isometric stretches described do not require the assistance of a partner, but you may certainly use a partner if you so desire. The order in which these exercises are performed is important because the entire routine attempts to employ the principle of synergism by stretching a muscle fully before using that muscle as a “supporting muscle” in another stretch (see section Exercise Order).
As with all stretches, you should not stretch to the point of intense pain! A tolerable amount of discomfort should be more than sufficient. You do not want to pull (or tear) your muscles, or be very sore the next day.