Have you always wanted to do the splits but lacked the flexibility? Maybe you thought that if you didn’t develop that flexibility as a child, you can’t develop it now. Well, lucky for you, you would be wrong. There are simple stretches anyone can do to train their body to do the splits.

Start with something easy. Sit on the ground with your legs together, straight out in front of you. Keeping your back straight, reach forward over your legs towards your toes. Try to bring your chest to your legs. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds.

While still seated, spread your legs out to a 90 degree angle. With both arms, stretch to three points: to your left toes, directly in front of you, and to your right toes. Hold your stretch in each location for 30 seconds.

Next, do the same thing standing up with the standing forward bend. With your feet together, bring your hands straight up in the air and fold them over like you’re diving into a pool. Stretch your arms and chest down towards the ground. If you have a hard time reaching your toes, put a little more bend in your knees until your hands are on the floor. While simultaneously reaching down with your arms and chest, press inward with your chin and chest towards your knees and thighs for the maximum stretch.

The pyramid pose is a standing variation of the stretches you did to each side while sitting down. Standing straight up with your feet together, step out 3 to 4 feet with your right foot. Lowering your chest and chin to the top of your thigh, reach for your right toes with both hands. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat with your left leg.

Lunges will also help open up your hips and pelvis. One leg at a time, lunge forward with your front leg at a right angle and your back knee to foot along the ground for 30-60 seconds. Next, take your front leg and stretch it straight out, while still keeping your back leg from your knee to your toes on the ground. The straighter you keep your back, the deeper the stretch will be. Finally, return your front leg back to lunge position at a 90 degree angle. This time, take your back leg in your hand and pull it up towards your butt. Make sure to do these three exercises with both legs.

For a really challenging stretch, try what’s called the lizard pose. Get yourself into a low lunge position which means your front leg is stretched forward all the way to be aligned with your elbows which are on the ground propping your upper body up. Your back leg should be extended behind you with your knee either off the ground or gently touching it. Your front knee and ankle should be in a straight vertical line and your head and hands should be in front of your leg. Repeat this on both sides of your body.

Whether you’re looking to do the splits or just become more flexible, these exercises will help you. Stretching is an important aspect of any athletic activity as they greatly decrease the risk of injury. Splits are seen as the barometer for flexibility, so keep practicing these stretches and you’ll get there. Stay limber, my friends!

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