Is your split lookin’ a little triangular these days? Yup – there’s an app for that (you wish). Kick that sorry straddle to the curb – it’s splitsville, baby!
How NOT To Increase Your Split
- Force it – Hey, if something won’t move, forcing it’s a great idea, right? Nope. Bad. It’s not a peanut butter jar, it’s your muscles! Don’t ever force a split – be where you are on any given day (whoa – that’s deep).
- Hold it forever – Holding a stretch for an hour is great advice if you’re in 1985. The most recent research suggests holding a stretch no longer than 10 seconds, but doing it very consistently and varying the angle. If you’re sore after stretching, that’s a Big Red Flag that you’re actually injuring your muscles.
- Tear your hamstring – I see this ALL THE TIME. Suzie AwesomeStudent decides she’s going to get her split This Weekend, so she spends an hour a day stretching it. By Monday, her muscles are sore, her hamstring lightly torn, and her splits worse than they were when she started. So what went wrong? The short answer is that hamstrings are prone to small tears (getting one is often referred to as “popping a hamstring”). Pop a hamstring and you’re looking at a minimum of 6 months of reduced flexibility – total bummer when you were trying to do the opposite. Also a bummer? That injury is going to heal with scar tissue which is less flexible. Boooooooooooo all the way around.
- Stretch an injured hamstring – Try this. Break a plate in half. Glue the two halves together. Every 10 minutes, pull the plate apart and try to stick it back together. How’s that working out for you? If a muscle is injured, the LAST thing you want to do is stretch it. By all means, take it through its pain-free range of motion, but once you hit the injured bit, ya gotta stop. That totally goes against our nature, doesn’t it?
OK Miss Smartypants – How Would YOU Do It?
Tune in next week to find out! I’ll even be including VIDEO of my favorite series of “increase your split” stretches! WOOT! Love and pull-ups, Laura
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