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Training with Fredrika | Splits prep poses

Training with Fredrika | Splits prep poses

Training with Fredrika | Splits prep poses

 

One of the most common questions I get as a yoga teacher is students asking how to prep for splits. I am going to take your through my favourite poses to prep for the splits but always keep in mind to work with where your body is at today. Splits are one of those poses that are going to feel different from day to day so be honest with yourself and your practice when prepping for it. Allow yourself a minimum of 5 to 10 deep breaths in each pose and remember never to actively push yourself deeper into it but rather use your breath to slowly soften into it.

The two main areas to work with when prepping for splits are hamstrings and quads. With that also come hip flexors, glutes and calves. To start off I usually spend a few extra moments in lunges in 3 to 5 rounds of sun salutations.

Low Lunge to half splits 

Low Lunge is an excellent pose to prepare for splits as it stretches the hipflexors and is an easy gate way to half splits which in turn stretches the hamstrings. Start of off in a low lunge and draw your hips back until your legs are in two 90 degree angels. Then gently tuck your tailbone under by drawing your pubic bone to your belly button, activating the lower abdomen. Keep the tuck as you slowly move your hips forward but make sure that the front knee stays stacked over the ankle. If you want to take this further and you are not feeling a stretch, reach back with one or two hands for your back foot.

For your half splits release your fingertips to the floor and draw your hips back until your front leg is straight. Square off your hips as you slowly fold forward with a straight spine. For a more intense stretch, dorsi flex your front foot.

Pyramid Pose

This is one of my favorite hamstring stretches! The position of your hips completely determine the feeling in your front hamstring. Think about lengthening your spine forward and lifting out of your pelvis rather than rounding down towards your shin. Doing this while drawing your front hip back in line with the back one is going to intensify the stretch.

Lizard Pose

Lizard stretches your hip flexors, hamstrings and quads and is must when prepping for splits. You can make this pose work for you by making it as active or as restorative as you want. For a more active lizard keep your back knee off the mat and maybe even try a bind around the front leg. For a more restorative and passive pose allow your back knee to stay down on the ground and work towards lowering your forearms to the ground.

Pigeon Pose

The main caution about pigeon pose is the knees. If you are feeling any discomfort in your knees during this pose, come out of it and lay on your back in thread the needle instead. If there is no pain in your knees but the yoga mat does not provide you with enough cushion under the back knee you can use a folded blanket underneath or tuck the back toes under to gently lift the back knee off the floor.  Work towards getting your hipbones parallel and an even weight over both sides of your hips as you can either take this into an active back bending pose as you reach for your backfoot or come in to a gentle forward fold as you rest your forehead to your arms or the floor in front of your bent leg.

Last but not least, once you have done all these poses on both sides, take your sweet time to get into your splits. Stop every time your body tells you to and breath. Splits are one of those postures that are challenging mentally, but when you want to come out of it, ask yourself if it is your body or your mind that tells you that you cannot do it? If it is your body, then come out of it, no injuries are worth the splits! If it is your mind telling you to then breathe through it and remember that change happens outside of your comfort zone.

Good Luck and remember to have fun!

Fredrika wears AMELIA tights in Dahlia and HARRIET crop in Dahlia

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