Isometric split progression

Discussion in 'Health and Fitness' started by Van Zandt, Sep 25, 2010.

  1. cientista

    cientista New Member

    Thanks Dino, he recorded the webinar and anybody can watch it here. Van Zandt is very active on Instagram these days.

    axelb likes this.
  2. cientista

    cientista New Member

    Thanks Dino, he recorded the webinar and anybody can watch it here.

    Van Zandt likes this.
  3. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    Fantastic webinar, really great to see @Van Zandt getting exposure on his knowledge.
    Van Zandt likes this.
  4. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Thanks for sharing!

    Appreciate the feedback, thank you!
    axelb likes this.
  5. Sina

    Sina New Member

    @Van Zandt

    First of all, I would like to thank you for all your input and advice in this thread; I have been reading and rereading the answers and insight you have been giving here.

    There are some unsolved questions that I still have, however, and I was wondering if you'd help me out?

    I started the Isometric (Side) Splits Progression (which I will refer to as ISP from now on) on December 21st, 2021. I am currently on 2,5kg and have been doing this three times a week, according to all of your tips and advice and, of course, ending each set by tensing all of my leg muscles at maximum strength for 30 seconds.

    1. So, the first thing I wanted to mention was that I have been being sore in my hip flexors after every workout. So much so that in any stance or movement in which my hip flexors engage (e.g. sitting cross-legged) will make me feel the soreness a lot. I don't mind that much as I'm used to sore muscles after a workout. I just happen to be sore every single time, and then the new ISP workout will begin two days later, so I'm not really getting a day without soreness :-/ but oh well, the things you do to be able to achieve the splits...
    I am crying nearly every time. I know I'm a girl but I'm pretty pain tolerant and hardly ever cry but this...this is intense. It's a hundred times worse than giving birth imho. I will feel this intense soreness even with every step I take right after the ISP workout. That gets a tiny bit better after a few hours.

    After each set of three minutes (during an ISP workout), my legs and hip flexors feel like they are glued in the side split position and it takes a few seconds and some uncomfortableness to unravel and get out of the split. It will feel impossible each time. Is that normal?!

    2. Every since having started, I have been around 29-31cm above ground. I feel I get about one centimeter lower (if at all) in three weeks. Is that an okay progression? My legs can stretch until about 195cm from toe to toe. I have been getting about 5cm further two to three weeks after since starting 6 weeks ago. But for about three weeks I have not been able to stretch further than these 1,95cm.

    3. I am currently staying on this level (2,5kg) until I will be able to comfortably hold it for three whole minutes including tensing without having to support myself at all. I feel like I am holding on to my chair too much. I have good balance so I don't need anything to hold on to, however, I cannot stand in the split position for three while minutes with my legs spread this wide as my strength will fail. So, that's why I'm waiting until I can to step up a level.

    4. For me, the "easing into a stretch, then waiting 30 seconds, then easing into the stretch again, waiting 30 seconds more and doing that a third time before tensing for 30 seconds" doesn't work.
    My feet slip on the ground so much that during a set of three minutes they would slide until my bum touched the ground but at that point I would tear something because my ligaments/tendons/sarcomers/muscles etc. are not there yet, obviously. So for me, I have to split with each of my feet leaning/standing against an unmoving, wall-like surface during the splits workout.
    I can control the length of that space here and adjust it the better I get/the lower I get, so I always make the range in which I stretch my legs wide enough to not be comfortable.

    But I am not getting any better, i.e. lower. It's like I reached a plateau after only 2-3 weeks of your program. I don't have any medical condition that explains this. I stay in the split for 2,5 minutes, after which time I tense up to 100% of my FMax for 5 seconds and then remain fully tensed for 25 seconds (then I will relax for 1-2 minutes depending on which set I am in).
    Also, my body involuntarily shifts slightly forward the lower I ease into the split. I added three pictures (unfortunately, in the photo, parts of my legs are covered making it difficult to see where my feet are exactly, but I hope it helps anyway). I hope they will give somewhat of a clearer picture of what I am doing right or wrong.

    What are your suggestions? Is there anything else you need to know to help me?

    I'd appreciate so much if you could help me out here! :)

    Best regards

    Attached Files:

    axelb likes this.
  6. axelb

    axelb Master of Office Chair Fu

    Progress is going to be different for everyone. I believe Van Zandt would have more valuable input.

    My experience following this is different as I was fairly flexible to start. If you are following the steps outlined you may need to take into account other elements, like recovery (are you sore when you start?)
    If so, then recovery factors may be slowing progress. This may be nutritional, sleep factor, or maybe you have other activities?

    If you are making progress even minimal then this is still good.

    There are some other tests prior to starting highlighted in the webinar, and pre isometric stretch exercises which are worth following to make sure there is strength and endurance in the hip flexors and adductors prior to the standing slit progress.
  7. Sina

    Sina New Member

    @axelb Thank you for your reply. I actually am not sore when I begin the splits workout. I guess one day of a break in between is enough rest then, which is good.

    I do ballet classes a couple times on Zoom but they are nothing compared to my usual ballet classes and not very challenging (because they are online) and I basically do them to maintain my ballet form. I go running regularly and am just naturally a really active person but I don't feel like any of that is too much (I've had to cut down on a lot of workouts since the lockdowns - we are in the middle of the second lockdown where I live - and so I am doing a lot less activity-wise than I am used to, and my body is in a state where it is getting less exercise than it used to. That's why I thought this would be a good timr to begin with the splits workout....).

    The only thing that is too much (or that feels like too much anyway) is the splits workout, but I will just keep on doing it for years I suppose until I reach my goal

    I just needed to know if I could expect to get down to the ground someday at all?! I just cannot imagine it at this point and it is so frustrating...
  8. Sina

    Sina New Member

    I have quit now. I have made almost nil progress over the course of nearly 2 1/2 months. Whenever I begin with my first side split, I am still as far up and my feet are still as wide apart as at the very beginning when I started (mid-December). Plus maybe one or two centimeters but that depends on my pain tolerance on each particular day.
    Some days I can get a little lower than others but this is completely random and without any noticeable improvement or progression.

    I have watched the webinar (which is great! Just probably not for me ) and I can do all the advanced strength training exercises without problems (I'm a non-professional ballet dancer and have been doing these resistance strength exercises, among others, for a few years), so I just cannot understand why this is not working for me.

    I have even talked to my doctor and apart from confirming a slight x-position of my legs (which makes complete turnout to the side difficult for me in ballet, but other than that has never given me any problems whatsoever), I have followed the recommendations religiously, and have even begun to tense for a whole minute instead of only 25 seconds ever since my last post - this has not seemed to help either.
    I have done these 3x a week, actually staying in the stance for 3 whole minutes including the tensing part.

    I am so sad about this. I really thought that I had finally found the solution that I have been seeking for for years, as my teachers have been telling me for years to improve my side split and I have been trying REALLY hard. I'm not a person who gives up - but I can't wrap my head around this. Everyone else is successful at this and the success rate is 100%, so what can I do to achieve this? I don't want to waste a whole year of my life doing this, only to be able to carry 30kg while in the horse stance for 3 whole minutes. because that is all that is happening when I increase the weight: my body gets used to supporting the increased weight plus my bodyweight in the exact same position as the week before - but never does this make my body achieve getting down any lower.

    I wish there were someone here who could help me out or even train me for money, I am actually that desperate

    I don't know what to do anymore. I just want to know what is wrong with me and my body in order to correct that. If I knew what my problem is, maybe I could overcome it.

    Am I not ambitious enough? Should I keep on doing this despite not having made progress? Will I progress sometime? Should I just do this for a year and see where it gets me, and THEN give up if I still haven't made progress?

    I'd love to hear of those of you who have been having trouble here, and for whom this was a VERY long journey.

    @vanzandt Should I maybe not support my legs left and right while doing this? The problem is that otherwise, my legs will slowly drift apart until the pain is agonizing because my body is not yet ready for them to split so widely. Even with the "support" I only use just enough to ensure my legs won't move to the side as soon as the position is very uncomfortable already. If I didn't do this they would slowly slide apart over the course of the three minutes until something would tear, I am certain of that
  9. Van Zandt

    Van Zandt Mr. High Kick

    Please describe exactly what you do immediately after releasing the tension.
  10. Sina

    Sina New Member

    Right after I release the tension I drop onto the chair I'm holding on to with my upper body and then I support my whole weight with my arms on the chair while I'm half lying on it in order to slowly pull my legs back together a little bit while having taken the weight off them.
    But they are still spread quite widely at this point and I mostly just lie on the chair for about 2 minutes with my legs spread like this (though not as wide apart as right after the set) and my knees resting on the ground; and then I kind of inch them back together and stand up.

    At other times (also half-lying on the chair right after with my knees on the ground and my legs spread), I gently slide one knee back in a sort of semi-circle to decrease the angle at which my legs are spread apart, if that makes sense.

    My legs (or hip joints/flexors) seem really stiff und "stuck" in the split right after the whole exercise, which is why it takes me this minute or two to get them back into a normal un-spread position. The need to take the weight off my legs or hips etc. is overwhelming right after releasing the tension and I couldn't snap back into standing at this point at all - or anyway, after sets (3), 4 and 5. That's maybe because I go lower with each further set and after set 5 it seems impossible to get up at first.

    Only after set 1 and 2 I am still able to get up rather quickly after releasing the tension.

    During the break after sets 1 and 2 and sometimes 3 I sit on the chair before my next set for 1,5-2 minutes, but after 4 I just lie on the chair as described above for about 2-2,5 minutes...
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2021

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