I want to do the Box Splits!
I want to be able to the box splits! I’ve always thought it would be a cool “party trick” to be able to do. Not to mention how useful it would be for martial arts for me to be able to kick that high! Keep in mind that I’m only 5’7 – maybe 5’8 on a good day! For me to deliver a head kick to an opponent, it is all likely that any opponent will be taller than me! I can already kick above my own head height to be honest. But I want to be able to kick higher! I want to be able to do the splits!
What am I going to do about it?
I’ve realised that groin and hip flexibility isn’t going to improve by itself for me! I already have my dynamic warm up routine (SEE IT HERE) that I do daily. And this helps keep me nimble and mobile and agile. And it does help maintain a level of flexibility. But for me to improve my flexibility to the extent of being able to do the splits, I am going to have to start incorporating some specific flexibility training.
I was kind of hoping the flexibility would come by itself, simply through the act of practising lots of high kicks on the bag. But no such luck, I’m afraid!
As it happened, a ballet instructor down the gym happened to see me training on the bag, and asked if I wanted to be able to improve my flexibility and do the box splits. My answer, was absolutely!
She had me go down into a Frog Stretch, which I am all too familiar with. It’s a pretty standard stretch for the groin and adductors and hips. But this little innocent looking ballet instructor has an evil side! She had me push my feet against the wall behind me, so that I was locked in position. And she began pushing down on my lower back to open up my groin even more! Wow, it hurt! As the minutes passed, I eased deeper and deeper into the stretch, until I was maxed out at my flexibility limit. She simply said “good, now hold it”.
Another 10 minutes later of almost aggressively holding the stretch and trying to push as deep as I could go, I was actually sweating and breathing heavily! It was relief when the 10 minutes was up, and she said I could stop!
I slowly and carefully got off the floor, and as I walked across the gym, I felt like I had just gotten off a horse! She called me back over. For a moment I was terrified that she would make me do it again. Luckily, she didn’t, but said to do the same thing again tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. If I keep doing it daily, this is what is going to get me doing the box splits and kicking higher! Then to prove her point, she dropped into the splits with ease and gave me a look that said “see!”
My Box Splits Plan
So this is where I’m at now. I’m continuing to do my daily mobility routine. I’m continuing to practice Muay Thai kicks on the bag as often as I can (though I am limited still because of my injured knee). But now at the end of every training session, I plan to spend approximately 10 minutes of suffering as I go into a deep (almost aggressive) frog stretch.
Note, that I have to do the stretch at the END of the workout, because it feels so physically draining that I literally couldn’t do anything else in the gym after!
Let’s see how this goes! Hopefully it won’t be long before I’m writing a follow up post with loads of pictures of me showing off how flexible I am! To be continued!