Yiannis Christoulas Doing the Splits

Doing the Splits After 40

I’m 40 and I want to do the splits. Both the front and side splits, to be precise. This does not sound particularly easy, considering I’ve never done them before. Even in college when I practiced Tae Kwon Do twice a week, I was never able to do full splits. However, I’d like to get back into Tae Kwon Do now, and being able to do the splits would really help with those Tae Kwon Do high kicks (i.e. kicks to the head).

Since there is a pandemic going on, I have to use what is available in my house to do it. My first thought was to try out Yoga videos on YouTube. Turns out there are quite a few excellent Yoga videos available for free on YouTube. The videos labelled “Yoga for Flexibility” were high on my interest list. I put together three YouTube playlists of the videos I found, organized by length of the video. Sometimes you only have 15 minutes to stretch, but sometimes you have 30 or 45 minutes, am I right?

Those three playlists totaled approximately three days worth of yoga. That is a lot of flexibility training!

I tried this for a little while, and while I like Yoga, I’d rather do a flexibility routine that is more specific to my interest in kicking people in the face.

Splits via Science!

Enter sports scientist Yiannis Christoulas, published a video that gets straight to what the science has to say about doing the front splits. I like Yiannis’ approach to the problem. Some highlights:

  • Everything he says is evidence-based, with references to sport science journal articles
  • There are many types of stretching you can do, but doing a targeted static stretch of each muscle for 10 minutes a week is all you need.
  • Age is not a factor, other than the training may take longer to complete. I can do the splits after 40. (Hooray!)

You can see his video embedded below.

Yiannis expands on this 9-minute introduction video via an entire training course. You can find the course at Teachable here. It is available for purchase about $30. The explanations, Q&A, etc. in the training are all helpful. I find that his 20-minute follow-along videos to be the most useful, and have been using them every day for the last week.

To be clear, this is still a lot of stretching. Each 20-minute video covers one day’s front or side split stretch session. If you are training for both stretches, you need to do these routines three times a week each, for a total of six days a week. If I fail to see progress, it won’t be due to lack of effort!!

Do you think it’ll work? Did something work better for you? Write a comment at the bottom of this post! I’ll report back on how it is going after a few weeks.

In the meantime, here are the Yoga flexibility playlists I created for your enjoyment.

Yoga for Flexibility Playlist – 15 Minutes

Yoga for Flexibility Playlist – 30 Minutes

Yoga for Flexibility Playlist – 45 Minutes or More

*Credit: Featured photo from Yiannis Christoulas’ course at Teachable.

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