Thursday Tips: Hamstring Flexibility
Nemesis Trick: Splits
So, the front splits. Sigh.
First of all, let me reiterate that you don’t NEED to get the splits to be a great pole dancer. But, if you really want to train for splits, you need to do your research, and see what’s out there, and be RESPONSIBLE about what you are going to be subjecting your body to. Because if we were all naturally meant to be able to drop into splits, we wouldn’t all have to work so damn hard for them. Flexibility training is rigorous and can be hard, so don’t take it lightly.
If you are looking to get your splits, you will need hip flexor AND hamstring flexibility. You need the back leg to have a long, flexible hip flexor so that you can set the thigh of that leg on the floor behind you, and a long, flexible hamstring in your front leg so that you can extend that thigh on the floor in front of you.
We’ve already covered hip flexor flexibility. A pretty good test of where you are limited is to reach down and touch your toes. If you can’t get close, you probably need to work on hamstrings. If that’s easy for you, but you still don’t have your splits, you probably need to work on hip flexors.
For hamstring flexibility, I’m going to point you towards a bunch of video links on YouTube that explore resistance stretching of the three different parts of your hamstrings. I’ve talked about resistance stretching already in the hip flexor blog entry, but the reason why I like this method of stretching is that it’s very, very difficult to go too far and pull your muscles when you stretch this way because you are engaging the muscle you are stretching. There’s a bunch of science behind the method (which I’m currently exploring while researching for a paper for one of my classes, joy!) and it helps to know that I can recommend this without being too worried that people will be doing it wrong and risking injury the way that they might with passive stretching. If you’re new to the blog and didn’t read the resistance stretching primer in the hip flexor blog entry, do that now!
So, without further ado, here are the links. The guy (second set of links for each part of the hammie) is a little bit more groovy and talks a little bit more about some concepts that might be a little left-field for some of you, but his fundamentals in stretching are solid.
I hope that helped! I found a lot of improvement very quickly with this method, so I hope it works for some of you who are looking for more information on flexibility!
Tomorrow’s post: Significant Others…