If you’ve been training the splits like I have (read: half-ass and inconsistently), than you probably haven’t made much progress. Below I offer two perspectives from two guys who achieved their splits over a seriously long time.
Front Splits – Lachlan Walker
Isometrics are the key. In Lachlan’s video, he talks about training the splits off and on for a few years before dedicating himself to stretching after each training session. In his case, that meant he was stretching almost every day of the week. Funny thing though, and I’m sure most of us can relate, he didn’t make much progress.
It wasn’t until Lachlan decided to use isometric stretches and weighted stretches that he started to make progress. With isometric stretches, you flex the opposing muscles in the stretch (do watch Lachlan’s video for the specifics here). The idea is that by flexing and then releasing you will gradually lower yourself faster than by using your hands or blocks to relieve the pressure of the stretch. For weighted splits, Lachlan holds a plate over his front leg.
Middle Splits – Tom Merrick
Now in fairness Tom isn’t 100% complete with the middle or side splits, but he’s close enough in my book. Now Tom starts off making quick progress but soon finds himself unable to achieve the last two or three inches to get to parallel. What he learns (and what I will soon adopt in my training) is to perform a standing side leg lift (think quadriped series type leg lifts but standing rather than all fours) to strengthen the muscles in his leg and improve his range of motion.
I’ve been training the middle splits just by slowing lowering into the position and have similarly found myself stuck. I’m hopeful with the addition of this new movement, along with some isometric and weighted stretches I’ll increase my progress.