Undoubtedly the middle split is the single most important stretch to help make any handstand beautiful. Whilst many factors make a good, easy and healthy handstand the middle split contributes immensely especially when working on more advanced skills like the one arm handstand.
Unfortunately there is a huge stigma that anybody older than 15 – who does not already have a good middle split – is unable to learn it due to age and hip placement. It is true that certain people will have anatomical advantages and that the older one gets the harder it will be to improve the middle split but it is a fact that anybody at any age can improve their range of motion and over time work towards a full and flat middle split.
You might say it is easy to say this for someone who was forced into splits at a young age but I have proof: when visiting circus school in Montreal there was a guy with one of the worst middle splits I had ever seen. At age 17 everybody told him he will NEVER be able to open his legs due to his anatomical placement. Well guess what?! 5 years later he was a Cirque du Soleil performer with a beautiful, fully flat middle split. To your advantage I was next to him every single day, doing similar stretches working towards my own flat and later over split.
So today I would like to take you through a beginner middle split stretching program made up from exercises and methods collected over many years of watching and helping people improve their flexibility. If followed correctly, this program can be done up to 6 days a week and I personally guarantee you that you will improve your middle split.
Beginner Middle Split Routine
First things first. ALWAYS start with a warm up make sure you stay warm during all of this program. Wear warm clothes, don’t lie on cold floor, don’t stretch under air conditioning or close to open windows if there’s a cold breeze.
General Warm-up – 8 min of Cardio
Before getting into any stretches, start with 8 minutes of any cardiovascular activity to get your heart pumping and a light sweat going. This can be jogging, rope skipping, or running in place, etc. Just make sure you do this and really get warm.
Specific Warm-up – Lying Pissing Dog
Do 10 reps per leg.
- Don’t lean back
- Back straight and flat
- Knees 90 degrees
- Focus on opening leg as far as possible
Preparing the hips – sitting Lotus stretch with back to wall
Hold stretch for 1 minute & try to get as deep as possible.
- Back straight and fully against wall
- Focus on engaging the glutes
- Push knees towards floor
- Use elbows or small weights to push knees even lower
Getting down – Large straddle plie
Do 10 reps total.
- Aim for 90 degrees turnout
- Engage glutes to push hips forward
- 1 line between knees and hips
Getting closer – Wide Pancake on pillow
Do a 1min 30sec hold at the lowest point.
- Legs as wide open as possible
- Keep back & lower back straight
- Belly button towards floor
Turning into a frog – Middle split both knees bent, feet against wall
Hold for 1min at deepest possible range of motion.
- Hips and knees in 1 line
- Lower back stays flat
- Rotate hips forward
- Pushes knees into floor to open up middle split more
Half the struggle – Middle split 1 knee bent
Hold for 1min each side.
- Knees and hips in 1 line
- Keep knee fully locked and engaged for protection
- Back as flat as possible
All the struggle – Middle split
Hold for 1 min total.
- Feet, knees and hips in 1 line
- Knees locked and engaged
- Push belly button towards the floor
Adventures with extra struggles – Cable pully assisted middle split
Hold for 1min.
- Legs as wide as possible
- Knees locked
- Turn legs out
No program would be complete without some active stretches
5 reps per side.
- Open leg as far as possible
- From belly button first put upper body down
- Shoulder blades squeezed, chin is up
And the finishing touches – Active middle split openers on elbows
10 reps total.
- Hips exactly above elbows, open shoulders
- Feet and hips always on one line
- Imagine you’re in a Toaster
- Can be done with elastic or on hands for increased difficulty
And there you have it. A full and well organized middle split stretching routine. I know from first hand that middle split improvements are hard and slow but I can promise you the work you put into it will pay off. I personally struggled with my stretching for a long time until my wife taught me proper programming and technique. If you are interested in learning more about flexibility and would like to work with us on your personal goals than get in touch. We offer different types of online coaching and can not wait to get you the flexibility, handstands, straps or strength gains you have been craving for so long. Shoot us an email now 🙂