I wish I had a simple, straightforward answer to this question like: hold your split for exactly 45 seconds then take a 60 second break and hold it again. It would make this blog post nice and short, and everyone would go away knowing exactly what to do. Unfortunately I can’t give that advice because it would be wrong and even potentially damaging, depending on where your body is with flexibility training. The only way to truly know how long to hold your splits, or any other stretch, is to learn

There is a point in every splitter’s life when the booty nears the floor and that flat split seems so, so close. And then progress just seems to slow to geological time! If this is your world right now, please don’t worry, you’re not alone. The problem is that the closer you get to the floor, the less help you get from gravity. With more and more of your legs already touching down, less of your body weight is in the air. Gravity is nature’s push into your flexibility, so without

When I first started training contortion with Serchmaa Byamba at Circus Center in 2004 I had already been dancing for over 20 years and I thought I was pretty flexible. I had all my splits, nice and flat and comfy on the floor. Then Serchmaa showed me what a square split was and all of a sudden I felt like I was three feet away from the floor, working so hard I broke a sweat. It was very humbling! Of course, I complained, and Serchmaa promised me that even though it

  Whenever learning a new physical discipline you’ll have the experience of trying out a new aspirational move and thinking… this seems utterly impossible. One way to approach this new challenge is to keep trying the beast move over and over again, hoping that eventually it gets easier. This may work! But it is also miserably frustrating and has a high potential for burnout or injury. As an alternative attack, try modifying your exercises to make them easier so that you can manage them and control them. A strategic approach with the right

Why do we over-train? This process may sound familiar to many of you: Feel discontent with something about your body (size, shape, ability, performance, etc) Set an ambitious workout schedule to quickly make the changes you want to see Work out. Like a lot. Really hard. Endorphines churning and muscles burning. It’s happening. I’m tired. Why does my knee hurt? What’s this clicking in my shoulder? I need to take a few days off, this is too much. Forget it. That goal wasn’t realistic anyway. My body just can’t do that