Struggling to gain flexibility in your legs? Trying to achieve a middle split? This post will address the lines needed in the body to get flexible legs. We also list a range of beginner to advanced flexibility stretches so that you can achieve a middle split. No matter where you are starting from.
The middle split is one of the most difficult lines in the body to increase flexibility. This is because the deep front line is the deepest line in the body!
This does not mean that it is impossible it just means that it may take a little extra TLC to get that deep middle split or oversplit. Most people will find that their flexibility lies naturally else where such as a front split. This is because the lines needed for a front split are much more superficial.
Increasing leg flexibility in the deep front line.
Muscles and connective tissues in the deep front line.
This paragraph is for all the anatomy geeks out there! So if you don’t need to know the anatomy of the lines and just want to get into the stretches then you can skip ahead. For those who like to understand the anatomy behind stretching then read ahead.
The deep front line runs through the lower extremity, through the torso, and up into the cervical region as outlined below:
Posterior tibialis > interosseuos membrane > Knee capsule > adductor hiatus > intermuscular septum > femoral triangle > psoas > anterior longitudinal ligament > diaphragm > pericardium > mediastinum > parietal pleura > fascia prevertebralis > scalenes
Yoga poses to
achieve your middle split.
Below are yoga asanas that focus on the deep front line. They are ordered in intensity starting off at a beginner level and finishing at an advanced level. It’s important not to push yourself and listen to your body when you are trying to increase your flexibility.
Warrior 1 / Virhabadrasana 1
Benefits of Warrior I and II:
One of the greatest benefits of this pose is that it is a highly engaged asana. Meaning that it strengthens and lengthens your muscles. This is imperative as an aerialist as once we remove gravity we need to achieve a high level of dynamic flexibility not passive flexibility.
From Downward Dog, slightly/subtly turn your left foot out, lunge your right foot forward between your hands. Inhale, sweep your spine and your arms up into the sky. Bring your palms together, tilt your head right back and gaze between your thumbs
Pull your left hip forward, bend deep through your front knee and keep your back leg straight. Spiral the biceps out and keep the elbows straight.
Warrior 2 / Virhabadrasana 2.
From a standing pose, feet are about 4-5 feet apart, turning the back foot out parallel with the back of the mat. Bend deep through your front knee over the ankle and keep your back knee fully straight. Pull the arms apart and gaze forward passed your
Ground your tailbone, draw your lower ribs towards your spine, draw your shoulder blades down back and lift the front of your heart, bring your heart over your hips,
Ground down to your heels into the earth and squeeze your feet gently down and together, subtly lift your inner arches, and feel that you are drawing your energy up from the earth, through the feet, through your legs into your pelvis. Feel like you are filling up a bowl of energy there.
Kung-Fu Drop Stance / Skandasana
Benefits of Skandasana:
This pose is great for building strength and flexibility as it is an active stretch which bears your weight load. Another one of my
Take a wide stance, at least 5 feet apart. The feet are either parallel or slightly turned out. Cross your arms over your chest, place your hands on the opposing shoulders.
Bend deep through your left knee, keep your heels as flat to the floor as possible, get your hips as close to the ground as you can. Keep your right leg straight and move your heart centre towards your right leg.
Press down through your left foot and come back up to standing. Swap sides.
From your Skandasana, externally rotate your extended leg so that your heel meets the floor. Keep the foot flexed and continue to externally rotate the leg towards your posterior.
Inhale and sweep the chest open and take a bind behind your back.
Cobbler Pose/ Baddhakonasana
Sitting on the floor with your palms flat on the floor behind your back, lift your legs up in front of you and bend your knees, activating your hamstrings, squeeze your heels towards your groin.
Take your knees wide apart and place your feet on the floor as close to your groins as you can. Inhale and interlace the tips of your fingers over your toes, use your thumbs to pry open the soles of your feet, like pages of a book
Inhale, straight arms, flat spine, chin towards your throat. E
Press the knees down towards the earth, draw your navel towards your feet and your forehead towards to floor. Stay 10-15 breathes.
Relax the eyes, the jaw and upper
To come out of the pose, keep your hands where they are, inhale, straighten the arms, straight chest, lift the heart and release the legs in front of you.
Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend / Upavistakonasana
Benefits of Upavistakonasana:
I’m not going to lie, this is one of my favorite poses! I could sit in this all day. While this pose is not good for active flexibility its a great one for passive flexibility and breaking down myofascial tissue. Why because you can hold this pose for a long period of time allowing the stretch to go deep into your connective tissue.
Starting with your legs stretched out in front of you. Sweep your legs as wide apart as you can. See if you can gently push the hips further forward.
Flex the toes back, push the heels out, rolls the thighs out, they should externally rotate.
Keep your spine long, push your sitting bone down into the earth, place your hand’s palm down in front of you. Walk your hands slowly and touch your chest to earth.
Send your breath to the inner thighs and the groin.
To come out, lift your spine slowly and put your hands onto the floor. Slowly walk your hands back towards your torso as you raise your chest off the ground. When your upper body comes to an upright position place your hands behind your back, lean back and bring your legs together.
Yogic Squat/ Malasana
Benefits of Malasana:
From a standing position with the feet just slightly wider than hips width apart, slightly turn your feet out, bend your knees slowly. Keep your knees in line with the middle toe and squat as deeply as you can.
Push the hips forward, press the elbows against the inside of your knees, press your palms together, lift the front of your heart, breathe into the reproductive organs. There is always an option here to take a bind.
To get out of the pose, lean forward into your hands and slowly straighten out through knees, drop the knees down into kneeling position
Half Lotus or Full Lotus / Ardarpadmasana
Benefits of Lotus pose:
Lotus pose is great to get into Iliacus, a very deep muscle! It also can be held for a long period of time allowing the body to increase flexibilty in connective tissue and myfascial.
Sitting on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Bend your right knee and bring the lower leg up into a cradle: The outer edge of the foot is notched into the crook of the left elbow, the knee is wedged into the crook of the right elbow, and the hands are clasped (if possible) outside the shin. Lift the front torso toward the inner right leg so the spine lengthens (and the lower back does not round). Rock your leg back and forth a few times, exploring the full range of movement of the hip joint.
Bend the left knee and turn the leg out. Rock your right leg far out to the right, then lock the knee tight by pressing the back of the thigh to the calf. Next swing the leg across in front of your torso, swiveling from the hip and not the knee, and nestle the outside edge of the foot into the inner left groin.
Be sure to bring the right knee as close to the left as possible, and press the right heel into the left lower belly. Ideally, the sole of the foot is perpendicular to the floor, not parallel.
I hope you enjoyed my guide on how to get flexible legs in the deep front line. In order to increase flexibility on all planes of the legs make sure you check out my posts on the superficial front line and back lines to increase your leg flexibility on all planes.
What were some of your favorite leg flexibility poses? What ones am I missing? I would love to hear what poses you use too!