Did Someone Say Splits Challenge?!

Someone totally did! And that someone was Y. in yesterday’s jazz class. After surveying our pathetic attempts at an extended stretching routine, Y. announced a splits challenge. We have until the end of January to master the front spilts both ways. Whoever gets there first will get six weeks of class for free. If everyone fails (which is not unlikely), we get an additional two months to compete for three weeks of free class. Y. says she’s done the challenge before, but nobody made it. Maybe it’s time to change that.

Surprisingly, I actually have a fair shot of getting there in three months. I’m among the stretchiest people in class and dancing three times a week as opposed to one might give me an advantage. I’ve also been able to do all the splits before. While that was many years ago and the result of ruthless drilling five times a week by a very good karate sensei, said ruthless drilling has given me a sense of how much I can stretch without incurring an injury.

Then again, I am competing against other people who have stuck with dancing for a while, not least with my own mother who passed the aforementioned stretchiness on to me in the first place. And there is a teenage girl in class who was super-motivated by the challenge. Teenagers are inherently more flexible, more resilient and tend to have more time on their hands than 27-year-olds. So I have my work cut out for me.

But right now, I also have sore hamstrings from maybe possibly stretching just a little bit too much in yesterday’s general excitement, so today, it’s just ballet and very light stretching for me. (So much for knowing my limits…) The real work starts after the soreness subsides. So bring on your tips! Can you do the splits? How did you get there? How long did it take you?

15 thoughts on “Did Someone Say Splits Challenge?!

  1. Ack! I meant to reply to this the other day. We recently did a one-month splits challege at Suspend, and several people who didn’t have full splits were able to nail them down. I’ll have to see if I can find the video that Anne and Meg made — it’s really good for getting your splits sorted, and it’s out there for the world to enjoy on the YouTubes. If I manage to find the link, I’ll stick it up here for you.

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  2. Ah, found them!

    Here’s the link for the front splits video:

    …And here’s the middle splits one:

    Those of us who did the challenge alternated between front splits and center splits, which is a good idea. I also mostly opted to skip the videos on days that I had ballet classes, since I didn’t want to over-stretch things, but as long as you pay attention to what your body is telling you, it should be okay to do the videos on class days.

    I hope these help! When I went to the Lexington Ballet Intensive, I was really glad I’d spent time working on my splits.

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  3. Ooooh, thank you so much! I’ll be watching them right away. We don’t do much static stretching in ballet class, so I usually take my time afterwards, while I’m still nice and warm. The latter is becoming scarce what with the weather outside… 🙂

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  4. OMG, I hear you about the weather. Part of me is really glad that autumn is at least trying to arrive, while another part of me is like, “Eep! Back to taking hot baths in the morning and wearing eighteen sweaters!”

    I think the structure of the videos is really helpful — they start with a series of warm-ups and active stretches, so by the time you get to the static stretching part, everything is ready to go.

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  5. I finally managed to watch the first one, and it is amazing! Just what I needed! Love the structure and the pacing, the explanations are clear as day, and it’s even got some PNF elements. I wasn’t able to find a coherent instruction on how to do those properly anywhere, this really saves the day!

    I would also like to draw your attention to the fact that your instructor does not appear to have any bones. O.o

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  6. Hahaha, yes! Anne is very much boneless. It’s one of the reasons she’s a good trainer for me — she’s pretty hypermobile and understands how to safely train hypermobile bodies.

    In her spare time, she’s also a neuropsychologist and a professional dancer. Why is everyone I know so intimidating?! 😀

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  7. Uh, so you always have an incentive to improve? 😛 But then again, you’re impressive, too, so maybe it’s just birds of a feather and all that.
    Speaking of bones, I could lend you guys one of the skeletons from our sekrit ballet closet – it turns out we have two. 😀

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  8. Aww, thanks! I am definitely surrounded by inspiring people 😀

    I might just have to borrow a couple skeletons for a piece in working on — partnering is hard without bones! 😀

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  9. Soooo I finally got around to actually *doing* the front splits one. I have encountered unexpected difficulties, because apparently, I don’t have quite enough strength to support myself in the deep lunge for quite so long… But the workout and the stretching effect is amazing! I got noticeably farther down than usual with no pain. And – the most amazing thing of all – I did the lizard pose (the one with the elbows on the floor)! And very comfortably at that! I’ve never been able to do the lizard, it always felt like something was catching in my hip. Improper warm-up, possibly. Anyway, thanks again! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh ! I forgot to mention that. If you’re not down far enough to be able to rest your weight comfortably on your hands, some yoga blocks or something of a similar size comes in handy. Getting your hands up a, little higher that way can help.

    I’m so glad this is helping! It’s been great for me, especially getting my left split back after jamming my pelvis and making all the muscles really tight on that side.

    Liked by 1 person

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