The Single Biggest Mistake people make when training for Splits, Straddle, Backbend is?
They do the Wrong things.
1. They Only do passive stretches.
2. They sit in their Splits / Straddle for ages and hope for the best.
3. They do partner-assisted stretching i.e have someone push you into a stretch.
4. They do too much.
Why Don’t These Work?
If you want to be Bendy, you need just ONE thing.
Good Neuromuscular Function
What Does That Mean?
It means you need these 3 elements:
If you’re only thinking about lengthening your muscles, you won’t get anywhere because the Only thing that can change your sarcomere (muscle cell) length is eccentric training, so it doesn’t matter how much passive stretches you do or how long you sit in your splits or straddle for, you are NOT actually going to get longer.
What matters is how Supple you are, suppliness comes from your soft tissues (muscles, tendons, nerves…etc) all sliding well together. E.g. if all you feel is nerviness when you stretch your hamstrings, you most likely have a nerve mobility limitation, stretching your muscles alone will NEVER change this, you need a physio to assess your nerve’s mobility (neurodynamic testing) and show you how to address it safely.
How strong you are determines how well you can use your flex.
Balanced strength is essential to support your suppleness.
You must be strong throughout your Entire Available Range of Movement to Safely use your flex.
3. Motor Control
Does your Brain even know this space exist? If it doesn’t, there is no chance you can use it, let alone keep it!
You must develop the appropriate body awareness, joint position sense (proprioception) and motor coordination in order to access your flexibility.
This is why partner-assisted stretching doesn’t work because when someone else is controlling your movement, your Nervous System DOES NOT ADAPT and develop the neuromuscular (brain-body) connections you NEED to use your flexibility.
Plus, it takes skill and technique to assist a stretch correctly and safety, unless your partner is a trained professional, the force of the push often end up in your ligaments and joint capsules, which are structures you should NOT stretch. Partner-assisted stretching is really only appropriate for contortion-level training, and you’d want to make sure your coach is qualified.
How can our Physio help You?
Physios are Expert in Movement and Musculoskeletal Conditions so we can assess you and determine if:
1. You have any structural limitations to getting your splits / straddle. E.g hip socket shape and depth.
2. What is actually limiting your progress and what to do about it. Nerve mobility? Strength? Motor control?
3. Prescribe the Exercises YOU Need to achieve your goals.
There is no short cut to flexibility training. If you’re searching for a quick solution, you’re at the wrong place.
However, if you’re willing to learn about Your body, make adjustments to your movement habits, and work on up to 5 different exercises at a time,