Active Flexibility for Middle Splits

22nd August 2019

Firstly, what is active flexibility?

Active flexibility is the strength you have to pull your leg / limb into its maximum range of flexibility. This is the strength that make your upside down splits look amazing and keeps your joints safe while you are at your limit of flexibility.

Secondly, Why is it important?

Because active flexibility is strength! It is not noodling / relaxing into your flexy pose, it's actively pulling your limb into position and engaging surrounding muscles to support and stabilise your joint to protect you from injury.

By incorporating active flexibility into every training session you will start to notice an improvement in your passive flexibility and better looking upside down splits.

Here are a few exercises you can do to improve your active flexibility range.

Side leg holds

Reps: 3x10sec

These will feel hard at first, but they will quickly improve!

Key points:

  • Keep your T-Zone engaged
  • Pelvis tucked under slightly
  • Lifting knee turned out to the side as far as possible

Side leg lifts and standing cirlcles

Reps: 3x10

As you find lifts and holds easier, start to combine them; lift x10, hold x10sec.

Circles are extra challenging so only attempt these when you can easily lift and hold a straight leg keeping your balance and technique.

Key points:

  • Keep your T-Zone engaged
  • Pelvis tucked under slightly
  • Lifting knee turned out to the side as far as possible
  • Only lift as high as you can without bring the foot forward, sticking your bum out or bending the bottom leg.

Leg circles

Reps: 3x10

This variation is slightly easier than standing, you should be able pull your leg much closer to your face when you are lying down - but we want to achieve the same circle standing! 

Key points:

  • Keep your T-Zone engaged
  • Pelvis tucked under slightly
  • Lifting knee turned out to the side as far as possible
  • Keep your hips steady, no rocking to one side
  • Make sure you have no movement (especially arching) in the back

Middle Splits Roll Down

Reps: 2x10

I love this one! It's so much fun and incorporates a familiar movement pattern that we use for pole dancing! Can you guess which moves?

Be wary of your neck if you have an injuries or tightness in your upper back and neck - the dead spider position might be too intense. You can start this one flat on your back with your feet coming as close to your face as possible. Or you can experiment with placing your feet on yoga blocks or a chair instead of the floor to start.

Key points:

  • Keep your T-Zone engaged
  • Roll down slowly, one vertabrae at a time
  • Open the legs as wide as possible and aim to keep your feet on the floor the whole way down.
  • Keep your head flat on the floor at all times, finishing flat with your feet together.

Try adding some of these cool exercising into your stretching and see if if makes a difference to your passive and especially your active flexibility!