Yum middle split! My personal favorite of the splits! Here are five drills and general information that will help you achieve that flawless middle split!
~Middle split vs. straddle~
What is the difference? Straddle is when you sit on your butt and open your legs as wide as you can (above pic). Middle split is when your stomach is facing the ground, with legs open as wide as possible. In essence, middle split and straddle are the same, just flipped 90 degrees. Middle split has the advantage of the ground: we are able to push our feet into the floor, helping to get the legs more open. Whether you have a goal of middle split or straddle, both are phenomenal to train!
I gotchu, do not worry! When talking to my peers/students/coworkers about middle split/straddle, the most common issue brought up is "I train these all the time: I use weights to push my legs down, I have someone push on me, I hold my frog for five minutes, (etc.), and I see ZERO progress. Help!" I understand how frustrating that can be...to work on something and put in so much time/energy and not feel or see much progress. As annoyed as we might be at our body, it is actually protecting us...OMG thank you angel body for saving me, yas! I'll explain below.
~"My body is protecting me??? Rochelle, you sound insane"~
I know, I know, I get that a lot, lol! But for reals, when your body stops its range of motion in any flexibility exercise, it is protecting you/itself...it is trying to tell you that you do not have the strength needed to back up the range of motion you are trying to achieve...let me repeat that one more time...when you are stretching, and you feel your body stop letting you move or you feel stuck, your body is being smart and protecting you...because you do not have the strength and stabilization to back up that increased range of motion. Your body does not let you stretch any further. So while stretching middle split is important, equally as important is strength and conditioning for the glutes, hips, quads, and abs.
When stretching my middle splits/straddle, I spend about 25% of my time being passive (hanging out in straddle, frog, oversplit) and the other 75% of the time conditioning and practicing stabilization exercises related to middle split. Most of the conditioning I do, I do on my back, because it allows my spine to be neutral. This makes me really aware if I am doing any sort of anterior or posterior pelvic tilt. The conditioning is exhausting, but it ensures that my joints feel supported by my muscles.
~5 essential exercises to help you achieve your middle split~
There are lots of different stretches/exercises you can do for your middle split. These are 5
exercises that I find essential in making your middle split feel yum! For these drills, make sure the legs, hips, 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
Frog: we love a good frog...but moving around in it...do cat/cow, move hips forward and back, move the legs. Don't just sit there, move around...muscles are multi-directional.
Side lunge: push the knee away from you, get a delicious stretch. Then practice transferring side to side, making the hands as light on the floor as possible.
Straddle on back: holding with hands pushing down. Then practicing the high V position: legs closer to ears.
Butterfly to straddle: laying on the back with legs in butterfly. From here, extend a leg into straddle and then re-bend the leg. Use those glutes!
Passé on side: laying on the side, starting in turned out passé. Lift and lower the leg without turning in and letting the hip roll back
~"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!