Saturday, 15 March 2014

How Long Does it Take to Do the Splits?

Between 18 and 25 I trained in the 500-year-old noble martial art of Muay Thai, or Thai Boxing. For those that put in the time and effort, the sport develops incredible levels of strength, speed, stamina and flexibility.

I'm now 31, and I still use the gym and have recently got into boxing. My cardio and hand speed is creeping back to a standard that I once had, but my flexibility is nothing like it was. I would attempt the splits twice a week in Muay Thai training. When I was 19, I had about 30cm between my crotch and the ground. This was at the peak of my flexibility. Obviously, in boxing the lower body's abilities aren't as important as it is when training in Muay Thai. Also, when you get into your late 20s, your flexibility plummets. I thought that process would be largely irreversible... until I saw this.

Van Damme was 53 when he filmed this. I'm curious- could I get my flexibility back to my 19-year-old state? Could I surpass it and stretch more than I've ever done?

It's possible. It might take years of practice for some, but let's say that I work on this for the next month. I could do this standing, as Van Damme is in the video, or sat down with legs apart. The latter would be a much easier (and safer) way. The more time you spend on the edge of your flexibility, with your legs as wide as possible without too much discomfort, the more you'll be able to coax your legs further apart. Keep the room warm so your muscles are soft, use a wall or a couch to push your feet apart on, and let your legs adapt to an unfamiliar position.

As this will take lots of time, and I'll basically be sat eye-level with the seat of the bottom of my kitchen door for a few weeks, I may as well get a good book in as well. Review post in 1 month will be split (pun intended) between book review and project review. I'll be able to extrapolate from that data how long it would take me to complete the splits.

Current stretch: 1m 37cm.

How long it would take me to afford 2 Volvo trucks for me to do them between: who knows.

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