Adapted from Eiko’s book, Even the Stiffest People Can Do the Splits
The benefits of being able to do a split are endless. But mostly, the splits keep you young! Practicing the splits is great for your joint health, flexibility, and balance—qualities that become more and more important as we age. All of these things factor into how much range of motion we retain, our physical independence, and overall quality of life.
Balance is especially important, as falls are the leading cause of death from injury in elderly people, even healthy ones. Stretching exercises like the splits have even been proven to help with major health issues like Parkinson’s and cardiovascular disease by encouraging muscle strength, motor control, and better circulation.
Given that, I created a plan to help you achieve a split in 4 weeks. Start by doing the stretches outlined here and in my book Even the Stiffest People Can Do the Splits.
My plan focuses on doing a pancake split: If you spread your legs wide while keeping your knees straight, lean your upper body forward, and touch the floor with both your elbows, you’ve achieved the splits.
First, start with two basic stretches—the towel stretch and the sumo stretch—and then add in a third, the inner thigh stretch. The key is to stretch only so far that it hurts in a good way. Be careful not to overdo it when starting out.