How to "Hack" the Splits Stretch
The freedom of movement and stability of our hips has a profound effect on every movement we do and can be a major influencer on our overall health or problems that arise in other parts of the body.
Here is a movement that helps to unlock our frontal and lateral hip flexion in the "split" open long sit position. This is the accessory exercise to the Liver & Gall Bladder Meridians of the Masunaga Meridian Stretching system. (Check my website for a free guide to the full Meridian Stretching basic sequence.)
One important necessity about the split position is the smooth rotation of the femur in its socket. If this is restricted, it becomes very difficult to sit upright or bend in this position. Thus, engaging in a movement that engages this kind of rotation can help to prime the hips for smoother frontal and lateral flexion.
Try the "split" stretch position, bending forward, and bending sideways, and then do this rotational exercise three times in each direction. Try to forward and lateral flexion again and compare with how it felt the first round. It should feel more open and less restricted, or at least a deeper range of motion. Use this exercise as a warm-up before every mobility session where you do the split stretch, and you'll make much better progress.
Click here or on the image in this article to watch the clip of me explaining this on YouTube.
Note: For some people, this will seem like an impossible exercise. However, in Masunaga's Meridian Stretching system, there are even more basic exercises for such cases. These exercises are for people of an average level of capability. Special cases require a more tailored selection of the most appropriate movements.