Active split...what is she? Basically any split that is not on the ground. Active splits require much more strength than passive because the floor is not there to help push the legs!
~What is active split?~
Active split is a true test of strength within flexibility. When we are doing splits on the floor, we might not realize it, but the floor is super helping our splits: the floor is helping to push our legs open. We of course are using some strength to get our legs to open, but the floor is doing a lot of work. Now take the floor out of the equation...could you do your splits without the floor? In an active way? For most people the active vs. passive (floor) split is different. The passive split is usually deeper than the active split...however, our goal in general should be to make our passive and active splits (and flexibility in general) as even as possible. For example, my passive split has more range of motion than my active, but they are pretty similar. And my forever goal is to make my active split as even with my passive as possible.
~But why even out passive and active split?~
I know I know, it is much more work to have an active split...but here are reasons that I believe it is so important to have your passive and active flexibility be as even as possible:
Injury prevention! When we have a strong active split, that means our muscles are supporting our range of motion. Correct muscle engagement helps to protect the areas we are stretching. Improper or lack of muscle engagement can lead to injury much easier.
Flexibility lasts longer. Active flexibility is flexibility that lasts. I hear people tell me all the time how they took 2 days off from stretching and they lost so much flexibility...that should not be happening. With active flexibility, you are building muscles to help your flexibility stay!
Flexibility will transfer to other areas of life. If you actively stretch your legs, you are making your legs stronger. This then transfers to any area in life where legs are in use: walking, running, sport, dancing, weight lifting, hiking, etc.
Performance essential. When performing any sort of routine (floor, aerial, pole, burlesque, dance, etc.), we are moving/keeping the body active. This means all flexibility in the routine will need to be active. If you're only used to stretching passively, performing an active routine will be very difficult.
~"But Rochelle, active split requires so much more effort"~
Ugh, I know! If you struggle with this mental block, trust me, I totally get it! It is hard, and some might say, not as fun as passive stretching. But, I always tell myself, if I am going to sit down and stretch, I want it to be beneficial. I do not want to waste my time with stretching that could injure me, disappear in a couple days, or provide zero advancement to my range of motion and strength. I know active stretching has so many benefits....and that is why I do it. So if you struggle with motivation to stretch actively, start small. Try 5 minutes a day and build on that...there is no rule saying you have to sit down for an hour and stretch. All of my training videos are active, so check them out if you need guidance on active stretching.
~ 5 essential exercises to help with active split~
There are lots of different stretches/exercises you can do for your active split. These are 5
exercises that I find essential in making your active split feel delicious! For these drills, make sure the legs, hips, back, and glutes are warm. If you need any stretches to help you warm up, I have so many videos to help with that on my Vimeo page: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility
Extended low lunge: engage glutes to help control the hips.
Inclination on wall: most favorite drill ever! Practice pulses, leaning back, and holding.
Penche on wall: love...ugh, I love all these drills! Pulses, leg lifts, straightening leg, holding.
Penche in center: a true test of where your active split is. Same thing here, leg lifts, pulses, bending leg, etc.
Leg lifts: leg behind you, practice lifting the leg up and then down, without leaning forward
~But Rochelle I need to see you do these drills!~
And you can! Head over to my Vimeo page (https://vimeo.com/ondemand/functionalflexibility )
and subscribe! I have a video of me showing and explaining all 5 of these drills!
I hope these 5 drills help you with achieving your active split! Let me know if you have any questions! Remember to check out my subscription page on Vimeo for more flexibility videos!