10 common mistakes in stretching (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!

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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.


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!


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.


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

Melina’s first contact with Pole Dance Fitness was in December 2012, after her friend encouraged her to try it out. In 2013, she moved to Copenhagen, Denmark, where she began to be involved in pole dance classes and activities more actively and intensively. In December 2013, she started to teach.
In 2014, she took part in her first competition in Denmark, where she won the first prize (Danish Pole Championship - DM, PRO category, 1st place). In February 2015, she participated in the competition Battle of the Pole, in Prague-Czech Republic, in the lions / lionesses (professional) category. In February 2016, she participated for the first time in a contest organized in her own country: the Greek Pole Dance Championship by RAD, which took place in Athens. In May 2016, she participated in Pole Theater Greece, in the Pole Art-Professional category, and won the first place.
Melina has now returned to Greece and is working as a Physiotherapist, Pole Dance Fitness instructor and Pilates instructor. Anyone who knows her well describes her as an athlete with the heart of an artist! She is the founder and owner of the new creative hub in Athens city centre named CirQ'ulation Locale (pole, pilates, yoga, flexibility classes and lots of workshops and events).

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