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Thread: Serious about the splits

  1. #1
    Fluidic Kimbo's Avatar
    Fluidic Kimbo is offline Morale Officer (de facto)
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    Lightbulb Serious about the splits

    Yesterday I had my first PT session with a guy who specialises in flexibility and stretching. I told him I want to get into the middle splits, so that's the only thing we train.

    I've been doing passive stretching for a little over 20 years now, ever since I got into martial arts in my teens. Obviously though passive stretching hasn't been enough, even though I spent a few months recently spending 20mins per day in my leg stretcher machine.

    So anyway our sessions involve exerting the muscles when they are near to their limit of range of motion. The training involves getting stronger at the extremes of range of motion. Supposedly this new strength at the extremes will be what eventually gets me into the splits.

    I'm told that whether or not a person can do the splits is largely based on what their brain will allow -- rather than how long the muscles and tendons are. Having longer muscles and tendons I'm sure is a plus, but really the major factor is just how far your brain will allow the stretch before it invokes the 'stretch reflex'.

    I was looking into getting a drug that inhibits the stretch reflex but they're all way too heavy and have a list of side effects. Diazepam would even help but of course it's habit-forming so I won't go there.

    Last week I measured the angle between my legs at 134 degrees . . . so I need to get another 46 degrees from somewhere.

    Anyone got any tips here? I'm totally obsessed with getting into thr middle splits and I'm willing to go to the PT sessions and also do the exercises myself at home.

  2. #2
    wango's Avatar
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    I recall you bringing this topic up years ago.

    Regrettably, if it hasnít happened yet, itís very doubtful it will, very sorry to say.

    You could have x-rays of your hips. Believe it or not, the head of the femur (the ball) isnít always round and that can contribute to the issue.

    Careful that youíre not too forceful and tear your adductor muscles (groin) with aggressive stretching, because that injury never seems to fully recover.

    Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wango View Post
    I recall you bringing this topic up years ago.

    Regrettably, if it hasnít happened yet, itís very doubtful it will, very sorry to say.

    You could have x-rays of your hips. Believe it or not, the head of the femur (the ball) isnít always round and that can contribute to the issue.

    Careful that youíre not too forceful and tear your adductor muscles (groin) with aggressive stretching, because that injury never seems to fully recover.

    Good luck.

    If you look for 'Matthew Smith' on YouTube, he started stretching as an adult, and now he has extreme flexibility. He trains other people now to get as flexible as he is.

    The PT guy I see in person on Monday's only started stretching in his 20's, and he has extreme flexibility now.

    I realise I've been stretching for 22 years and still can't do the splits but maybe I just haven't been working on my nervous system properly. The stretch reflex takes place between the spinal chord and the muscle ... you need to condition the spinal chord not to induce the stretch reflex. I'm told the best way of doing this is to work on strengthening movements when a limb is close to its max range.

    I'm thinking I'll fork over the US$130 for the side splits flexibility toolkit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluidic Kimbo View Post
    ... you need to condition the spinal chord not to induce the stretch reflex. I'm told the best way of doing this is to work on strengthening movements when a limb is close to its max range.

    I'm thinking I'll fork over the US$130 for the side splits flexibility toolkit.
    Iíve read some truly God awful training mistruths and horribly incorrect bro-science explanations in my decades of doing this, but this just might top them all.

    But hell, Iíve spent my $ on some unnecessary shit in my life as well.

    As I replied prior, good luck.
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    Fluidic Kimbo's Avatar
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    People have attained the splits after being fully grown.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluidic Kimbo View Post
    People have attained the splits after being fully grown.
    Look FK, I’m not trying to squash your dreams. I did the martial arts/kick boxing thing in my 30’s and faced the exact same dilemma. All of my education, training background & obsessive drive couldn’t overcome reality.

    I know the technique you and your guru are alluding too and seemingly trying to repackage into something “new”. As therapists, it’s been around longer than I have.

    It’s the business of voluntarily controlling something that can’t be because it’s involuntary that I was commenting on.

    Good luck with your goals FK. I stopped boxing, not because of age or boredom, simply because my shoulders said no more. I miss it.

    https://www.ipnfa.org/organisation/history-of-pnf/

    https://mediphysio.com.au/pnf-stretching-technique/
    Last edited by wango; 05-29-2023 at 01:23 PM.
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  7. #7
    Fluidic Kimbo's Avatar
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    Thank you for those links. I've been holding stretches and holding contractions for much longer than suggested in those articles, and so starting from tomorrow, I'll hold the stretch for 30 seconds, then contract for 6 seconds, and repeat that for a few sets.

    Right now the angle between my legs is 134 degrees. It is increasing but taking time. I have 30 years to get it because I need the splits for my retirement, I think I'll stop computer programming then and just teach yoga.

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