Achieving the front split may seem a little daunting especially if you are new to yoga, stretching, and the splits, but it is not at all impossible to reach this goal.
What do you get from doing the front split? Many benefits come with practicing the splits. If you are one for exercise and moving your body regularly you may find the splits beneficial to your exercise routine. For example, bike riding, running, or leg exercises will become easier to do if your thighs and hamstrings are more flexible and stretched.
When practicing the front split regularly you will notice that your hip flexors will become more open and stronger.
Whether you want to increase your flexibility or show that you can do the splits these 8 warm-up poses will get you on the right track to your first front split.
#1: Butterfly Pose
The butterfly pose may seem as easy as sitting down with bent knees, but this pose requires your hip flexors to open. That is why this pose may be one of the most effective poses to practice when trying to achieve the front split.
How To Butterfly Pose
When doing the butterfly pose you will want to find a comfortable area to sit either on a blanket or pillow. Bend your knees with the soles of your feet together, you will then feel how tight your hips are.
You will want to stay in this position for about 15 seconds if you are a beginner. Slowly increase your seconds if you are comfortable moving forward taking a bit more time to stretch out your hips.
#2: Low-Lunge Pose
The low lunge stretches your hamstrings and your quads. To be able to achieve the front split working these muscles out are essential. It is not too difficult to get into a low-lunge, but holding the pose may be a challenge you are up for. Slowly increasing your hold-time during your journey will get you on track to do a full front split.
How To Low-Lunge Pose
While standing up you will want to take a giant step forward with your front knee bent. Your opposite leg will then lengthen behind you in an extending position while letting it rest on the ground for support.
It is alright if you can’t get low as you want. Practicing the low-lunge will get better over time and you will notice a great increase in flexibility on your way to the front split.
#3: High-Lunge Pose
Just like the low-lunge, this is a great stretch for the hamstrings and quads. This pose is similar to the low-lunge, except the high-lunge takes a bit more strength in the legs. This takes supporting your body and elevating the extended leg behind you above the ground instead of resting it on the ground like the low-lunge.
How to High-Lunge Pose
Simply stand up and take a step forward with one knee bent in front of you. Your opposite leg will then lengthen behind you in an extending position above the ground keeping your legs strong and your core tight to stay in position.
Props are great tools to use in postures, so grabbing a chair can help your lunges for the front split. Over time you will able able to do this without props and notice a change in your strength and flexibility.
#4: Standing Forward Fold Pose
Learning how to properly forward fold is a great way to strengthen and loosen up the hamstrings which are required for doing the front split. Incorporating this pose into your split training is a good start to warm up those targeted muscles.
How To Standing Forward Fold Pose
As you are standing up straight without arching your back bend forward with your head hanging low avoiding your head going between your knees. You may notice that you will have to bend your knees in this pose but the goal is to fold forward correctly with your back straightened out.
You will then either grab your ankles from behind, place your hands on the ground in front of you for more stability, or hug both of your elbows while swaying back and forth to get a deeper stretch in your hamstrings
#5: Seated Forward Fold Pose
Just like the standing forward fold, the seated forward fold is a similar variation to stretching your hamstrings for the front split. If you want to target the same muscles for flexibility but want to change it up a bit then including the seated forward fold can give your routine something a little different.
How To Seated Forward Fold
Sit in an L-shape position with your legs fully extended side-by-side with your feet flexed. While engaging your core and spine move forward with your hands and go as far as you are comfortable or what your body will allow you.
This would be a good time to use a yoga prop like a strap to help with stretching into the forward fold. Over time you will be able to keep your legs straight and fold all the way forward touching your feet with ease and just in time to try out the front split.
#6: Pigeon Pose
The pigeon pose will increase flexibility in the hip flexors that are needed for the front split. This pose also helps to stretch the hamstrings and the groin, so practicing the pigeon is an ideal pose for your front split journey.
How To Pigeon Pose
Bring the right leg in a bent position laying flat where the foot is pointing toward the opposite side of your hip (left). Your left leg should be completely extended behind you.
Try to avoid twisting the extended back leg in an uncomfortable position. Instead, try to keep your leg straight and your hips squared off to make this posture comfortable.
Some people may need a yoga block or cushion to sit while performing this pose as they can not get to the ground. Once you are comfortable doing this pose for some time try without a yoga prop and see how far you’ve come.
#7: Reclining Hero Pose
The reclining hero pose is a great pose to increase the mobility of your hip flexors and thighs. Since the reclining hero pose reduces the tightness around the legs, it is no wonder people use to practice this pose to help achieve the front split.
How To Reclining Hero Pose
First, you will want to sit on your knees and your body straight up. Slowly maneuver your legs out on each side of your hips, so that your legs and knees make the letter “M”. You will then start leaning on your hands, followed by your forearms and elbows.
Once you get to your elbows, you will want to slowly recline backward as your spine comes down to the ground.
You can either do this with or without props, but if you are a beginner, then you will probably want to use a pillow or some kind of cushion to put under your spine as you recline backward.
#8: Full Split Pose With Block
You may not be on the way to the ground yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start performing the front split. In fact, it is a good idea to actually get your body into the splits. Your knees may be bent, and your hips may feel tight, but getting into this posture regularly will get your body used to the proper position for what is to come.
How To Full Split Pose With Block
Standing up straight, start by extending one leg in front of you and the opposite leg behind you. It is important to be mindful about keeping your hips squared off and not at an angle as you get lower to the ground.
If you are a beginner or not at all that flexible yet, you will probably be some distance from the ground. To help with comfort and to correctly perform the front split to your ability, you can use a yoga block or two to keep you stable. If you do not own yoga blocks, simply use a folded blanket or a pillow.
There are some precautions you should consider taking before practicing the front split. If you have any questions or concerns about your body it may be a good idea to talk to your doctor to see if training for the splits is safe for you.
Working on your front split is about slow movement, stretching, and control over time. It is ideal to always be mindful about not overstretching, avoid big movements, and not letting yourself or a partner push you over your body’s limit.
You know your body more than anyone, so all you have to do is listen to it.
Consistency is key
Taking interest in practicing the splits is a good start to your splits journey. Being consistent is the key to developing self-discipline and eventually executing the full front split. Remember to have a regular practice these 8 yoga poses to warm up your hamstrings, thighs, and hips. You will achieve the front split in no time!
For a deep dive into more yoga asanas, why not take a look at our collection of Asana Resources