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ETpro's avatar

Can an old man learn to do the splits?

Asked by ETpro (34550points) May 29th, 2011

I’m 67. I exercise daily, doing heavy hands on odd-numbered days and lifting dumbbells on even. For warm up,, I go through stretching including straddle splits as wide as I can go, then bowing my head as close to the ground as I can get it, and then front splits with right then left leg extended forward. I can see that I am slowly getting more limber. I can get to 20.5 inches in the straddle splits and 17 inches in front splits. Can I hope to ever touch down, or am I just too darned old to dream of that?

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10 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

It’s not a question of “learning.” It’s simply a question of doing them every day, and pushing your inside leg muscles a little further each day, until they’ve stretched so far you can do the splits!

When I was in Tae Kwon Do I was able to do the splits and then lean forward with my chin in my hand, and my elbows on the floor and watch TV that way! It seems to be a little more difficult for men to achieve that kind of flexibility.

ucme's avatar

As long as he has the balls for it & more importantly, retains those babies afterwards!

Cruiser's avatar

I would suggest setting sights on smaller goals….full on splits may never be attainable but it seems to me what can and have done is outside the norm for your age and as long as you avoid temptation and injury, I think one day you will find you are able to do more than you ever imagined! Pretty damn awesome what you do/have done so far! +6

Work on hip openers like wide angle splits and the yoga Pigeon pose.

poisonedantidote's avatar

Yes, I used to do a lot of martial arts a few years back. I once trained at a place with a 68 year old. After two weeks he was able to lift his legs so high that he coulc reach to kick me in the head. and I’m 2 meters tall (6ft6in).

If you have not had any serious physical problems in your life, and you practice for a few months, I don’t see why not.

Aster's avatar

I think doing yoga would improve flexibility and make your goal easier to obtain. But I want to tell you that my father did the splits at a party once when he was in his forties and had back trouble the rest of his life (I never saw evidence of it but that’s what he said).

SuperMouse's avatar

Yes. For me the secret to front splits was holding the stretch long enough to be able to relax into it and gain ground. I did them every day for at least a year before I was finally able to do the front splits with each let forward. My crazy flexible former yoga instructor would want me to remind you never to have someone push you into a stretch and never bounce on a stretched muscle.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Aster I would not recommend anyone doing splits, or many other moves, that they aren’t in shape for at a party or anywhere else on the spur of the moment.

what @SuperMouse. Exactly. Hold the stretch long enough to relax into it. If you can’t relax into it, back up a bit until you can. And everything else SuperMouse said!

ETpro's avatar

@Dutchess_III Thanks. That’s encouraging, and the confirmation of what @SuperMouse had to say.

@ucme Yeah, that thought has occurred to me. It wasn’t until recently that I started getting close enough to even think about impact. But I definitely plan to ease into it slowly. No jumping up in the air like a ballet dancer and landing in a full splits.

@Cruiser I will check out the procedure for the other stretches. Thanks. Like I just mentioned, it only occurred to me recently that I was startring to narrow the gap. The whole point is just a good stretch, not dogged determination to do the splits. But if I can learn to do it, I will. You never know when being able to kick someone in the head might come in real handy. :-)

@poisonedantidote Thanks for the encouragement. I haven’t had any injuries that should intefere with flexibility. I just never asked my body to do that before.

@Aster Several people have suggested Yoga. Sounds worth exploring. Not to worry, I won’t be trying any cute stunts after a few drinks at a party.

@SuperMouse Thanks, and not bouncing sounds like very wise council. I have seen football players do that, and just intuitively avoided it. It looked like it would hurt, and might pull a hamstring. Relaxing into it sounds like a much safer approach.

kritiper's avatar

Sure. How soon do you want to get back up?

Cruiser's avatar

@ETpro That is why as I get older and less able to do flying roundhouse kicks that give my 9mm conceal and carry more significance.

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