Top 5 Stretches For Middle Splits
By Gwendolen Nelson on 6th Feb 2023
Hello, lovely readers of Move Dance! Gwendolen here; I’m a dancer, choreographer and flexibility coach and I’m so excited to be sharing with you my Top 5 Stretches for Middle Splits!
This is a flexibility goal for many of us, not just dancers. With the right tips and commitment anyone can improve hip flexibility and mobility and get amazing results.
Lots of us feel the struggle to achieve a correct, flat middle split, often hitting a ‘flexibility wall’ as it demands a lot of strength and flexibility from the lower half of your body.
For this blog, I will show you how to unlock the muscles needed for our middle split with a mix of active and passive stretching. It is so important to build in a mix of stretching and strengthening into your flexibility routines. Aim to do this routine 3-5 x per week when you are warm, so after class or a workout.
Exercise 1 – Side Lunge Pulses + Hold
Start kneeling and place one leg out to the side, turned out as much as possible within your range, keeping hips square to the front.
Lower your pelvis towards the floor, bending into the knee of the turned out leg. IMPORTANT! Make sure your knee is over the ankle and not going past your toes when you lunge. Your heel must stay rooted to the floor.
Now push back up, through the heel, to your starting position, using the strength in your hamstring and glute of the working leg.
You should feel a stretch in your adductors, gracilis (inner thighs) and maybe the hamstring of the working leg if you’re particularly tight.
Keep lifted and hips square. You will find more range the warmer you get.
Repeat 20 times
Now lower as far as you can in your side lung and hold for 1 minute. If it feels good to you, add a little pressure to the back leg by placing your hand at the top of your thigh.
Exercise 2 – Single Block Froggie
Starting on all fours, walk/slide your knees out to your maximum froggie stretch.
Make sure to keep your feet flexed (to protect your knees) and your pelvis in line with both knees. If I were to look at you from above, you should have created one straight line from knee to knee. It’s important to keep the pelvis in line in this stretch to train your body to find its maximum hip mobility range.
Now place a block (or a couple of books) under one knee, elevating it above the other and getting into a deeper part of the muscle.
Breathe and relax into this stretch, try not to hold any tension
in your hips.
Hold for 1 minute.
Exercise 3 – Double Block Froggie
The next level! Do the exact same as our Single Block Froggie
stretch but now with 2 blocks; 1 under each knee.
For this version, you can play with where you find the deepest stretch. That might be with your hips in line or pushed a little further back towards your feet.
Once you’ve found your deepest stretch, hold for 1 minute.
Exercise 4 – Pigeon
Most of us know this classic stretch but did you know how vital it
is for helping achieve a middle split?
Extend the back leg directly behind you, relaxing the top of the foot on the floor. Have the front foot tucked closer to your hips to begin with. Now square off your hips!
If you find your pelvis is hovering off the floor after squaring your hips to the front, place a cushion or block underneath the front hip for support, until you can sit comfortably on the floor.
Relax for a moment into this stretch before walking the front foot
forward, aiming for a straight line with your shin in front of you. This is an
intense inner hip and glute stretch.
If you can’t keep your pelvis on the floor when you do this, place cushions or blocks (however many you need) under the front hip to sit comfortable and square.
Hold for 1 minute.
Exercise 5 – Active Pancake
Find something you can use as a prop, like a small cushion. Sit on the floor and find your widest middle split, knees facing up to the ceiling, toes pointed.
Place your hands on your prop. Keeping your back tall hinge forward from your hips, sliding your hands forward. Try to keep your knees facing upwards and not rolling forward.
Engaging your abs and inner thighs, pull your torso back upright.
Repeat 10 times, trying to lower a little further every few reps.
If you can, lower down 1 last time, as far as you can, and go for a 30 second hold.
Thank you so much for reading my Top 5 Stretches for Middle Splits. I hope you have fun with this flexi routine and these stretches inspire you to work on your middle split.
I’d love to see your progress! Share your results with me on Instagram
You can find Gwendolen on Instagram: @gwendolennelson