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10 common mistakes in stretching (front splits)

10_common_mistakes_front_splits

Certainly, the full split, if not the over split, looks impressive and it is a dream for many, but the consequences, which may arise from various mistakes which might be made during the stretching, must never be overlooked.

We need enough patience and perseverance to achieve our objective and many times, the methods we use in stretching can do more harm than good.

Reaching the desired result easily has got to do with the existing flexibility, the construction of the body, the knowledge of the engineering of the body, but also with its experience in training. Below are 10 of the most common mistakes in stretching for the front splits, and how we can correct them.

Warm up

The lack proper warm up, or even the wrong one, increases the possibility of an injury. To stretch the muscles properly, there must be a warm-up, and the reason is that the material properties of the connective tissue are dependent on temperature. With the increase in body temperature, the muscles relax and become more flexible. We, therefore, need to do a good warm up to the whole body (together with aerobic exercises), particularly in the muscles of the front and rear surface of the foot, as well as the low ventricular and gluteal muscles.

Stretching alone is not a warm up exercise!

Stretching alone is not a warm up exercise! Click To Tweet

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Insufficient rest between stretching drills

A 15-30-minute relaxation of muscles can be considered necessary, between stretching drills, so that the muscles can relax and get ready for the next stretch.

The exercises in the wrong sequence

The order in which we perform the stretching is very important. In each stretching of a muscular group, we are automatically stretching other muscles, known as accomplices. Ideally, therefore, it would be a good idea before stretching  some muscle groups, to try to stretch the accomplices first. In this way, the effort required to carry out the stretching is minimized, and we maximize the effectiveness of our exercises.

For example: For the best stretching of the biceps femoris, we need first to stretch our calf; gluteus; waist.

Duration

One thing which many people disagree on is how we should keep the passive stretching. Some make reference to 10 “, others in 1 ‘.  The truth is that nobody can know exactly how much. A commonly accepted opinion is 40 “.

No realistic objectives

Stretching should be carried out systematically, using a program that you will be able to hold over time. We shouldn’t push ourselves in order to increase our flexibility, but we should always stretch up to the limits of pain. Within 3 months no one can become Bendy Kate! (You can buy her book “Advanced Stretching Technique” on the Firetoys Store).

Breathing

Proper breathing is necessary for a successful stretching and helps you to relax all the muscles, it increases the blood flow throughout the body and helps to remove lactic acid and other by-products of exercise. The correct way of breathing is: inhalation from the nose, expansion of the belly, holding the breath for a second, and then exhalation from the mouth.

Change

Do not follow the same drills over and over again, otherwise, there is a risk of getting bored and you give up. By renewing the exercises you update  the stimuli which your body accepts. When you exercise the same muscles in the same way as well as the cardiovascular system with the same intensity, then everything becomes routine for your body, and so the improvement rate drops. Find different exercises and do them in a different order, intensity and manner.

Fast repetitions, sudden moves

Many believe that by applying some “Pulses” during the stretching drills, will help them to increase their flexibility, ignoring the risk of a possible injury due to sudden movements. When starting a stretching exercise, it is good to stay in one place, stable, and to breathe. In this way, we can control the muscles we stretch, and when we feel more relaxed, we can try stretching a little bit more.

The time and the place

The best time for stretching is when the muscles are warm. If you’re not quite warm before stretching, then you need to do another warm-up activity, usually aerobics. On colder days or the days that you feel more “stiff”, you should be extra careful in order to avoid injuries.

Food and hydration

It is important to drink water before, during and after your workout, as well as to eat something light 2-3 hours before you exercise in order to have the necessary energy.

About the author

Melina Boukouvala

Pole Artist & Instructor / Pilates Instructor / Physiotherapist
-> Danish Pole Championship (DM),Denmark, 2014, PRO category , 1st place winner.
--> Pole Theatre Greece 2016 Pole Drama Professional winner

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