2 Exercises For Front Split Flexibility

It just didn’t really seem that important. Until recently.

Last week after months of attempting full leg raises without success you finally decided to start working on your flexibility.

Red-cheeked, with pure agony on your face you reached for your toes, to realize you couldn’t even pass beyond your knees.

Those 10 muscle ups you recently crossed off your to-do-list didn’t prepare you for a simple exercise that a 2-year old can do without even warming up.


Why haven’t you spent any time on getting more flexible? Why do you always feel so weak when attempting to stretch? Don’t you want to do the most advanced skills?

Surely, there has to be something wrong with your muscles.

When you come out of your stretch, you usually look and feel like a 98-year old who just got hit by a car.

So you tell yourself that your muscles are genetically short.

You aren’t stiff because you haven’t worked on your flexibility, you are stiff because your mom and dad made you that way.

Do you recognise the feeling? The thought?


After all, we never really want to blame ourselves and take responsibility if the answer would be that we were simply: “Too lazy”.

If you were put under anaesthesia you’d be able to do full splits.

Lack of flexibility means that you are weak in that area of your body, that’s why your body blocks you from getting into that position to protect you.

The good thing? You can win your body’s trust back. Thankfully, it’s forgiving.

Even you can get a front split. Yes, you can become flexible.

Shall I show you how?



Pre-Requisites For A Front Split And Leg Raise


Prior to starting your front split training there is 1 range of motion which you need to check off your to-do-list.

It’s the front pike. Click to get the front pike guide. 

In other words placing your chest on your knees while keeping your legs straight.


The leg raise exercise is probably the first exercise which you will come across as a beginner that requires basic flexibility.

As you try this exercise however, you’ll discover that adding more effort if you are too stiff to reach the bar isn’t a solution to the problem.

That’s because the full leg raise is a front pike more or less, just upside down.


If you cannot touch the floor with straight legs, you have no chance of doing a full leg raise as shown in the 6 month calisthenics workout plan for beginners.

It will most likely be your first demotivating encounter with what a ‘lack of flexibility’ means for your overall progress.

It comes to a halt, unless you start working on it.

Let’s get started with that front split.



2 Drills For The Front Split


These are 2 simple drills for a front split which can be done anywhere.

The first one focuses on opening up the hips actively and the second one focuses on ‘contracting’ the muscles required to relax in the front split.

This will allow you to build strength instead of just relaxation and will give you an even better front pike.


Why the front split?

Because it targets the hamstrings and hip flexors which are generally extremely tight from sitting the entire day.

And because it paves the way for higher flexibility goals without which you will NEVER achieve advanced calisthenics exercises.

Ready to try them?



Forward Lunge


Body-Weight-Training-Flexibility-For-Beginners Calisthenics-Flexibility-For-Beginners


Main goal: Opening up the hip flexors and hamstrings through a dynamic movement


1) Adopt a forward lunge position with your back leg as straight as possible.

2) Contract your glutes to make sure you aren’t leaning forward, but maintain an upright position with your torso.

3) Slowly lower yourself down until your rear knee touches to ground and return to your starting positing while strongly contracting your glutes and straightening your legs.

4) Repeat for 10 repetitions and hold for 10-30 seconds in the top position after the last repetition.

5) Change legs to make sure both sides develop equal flexibility and repeat for 3 rounds.



Isometric Hold




Main goal: Developing full front split range and strength in end ranges of your hip joint for higher level skills


1) Adopt a front split position as a depth that feels comfortable.

2) Make sure you keep your glutes contracted and actively hold your position by trying to pull your feet together against the floor.

3) Breathe in deeply and upon releasing your breath adopt a sightly deeper position. Repeat this for 1-2 more times until you reach your deepest position.

4) Hold your deepest position for 30-60 seconds.

5) Switch legs and repeat for 3 rounds.



How You Can Add Flexibility Training To Your Routine


Flexibility is basically strength in new ranges of motion.

It should be ‘trained’ the same way as you would any other muscle group or exercise.

Any specific flexibility goal should be trained at least 2-3 times a week.


Add these exercises before or after your regular routine.

Make sure you have a ‘proper’ warming up and wear warm clothes if possible.

If you feel really stiff, take a few days off.

Actively increasing your flexibility is great, but overdoing it will actually have the opposite effect.

Time is the defying factor.



The Power Of Flexibility


When I started my calisthenics journey I kept running into ‘big roadblocks’ which had nothing to do with doing more repetitions of a certain exercise.

It had everything to do with flexibility, but because I sucked at it I refused to spend more time on improving my flexibility and told myself that I had ‘short muscles’.

Sounds familiar?


I wasted a lot of time on just getting what I thought was ‘stronger’, while in reality I was actually locking myself into a body of protection, instead of body of freedom.

I want you to realise this too, before it’s too late.

Some people will never see the bigger picture and while they will do +20kg muscle ups, they can’t do the most basic things required to be human.

Like touching their toes with straight legs.


Throw the idea that you have short muscles out of the window.

It doesn’t serve you now, nor will it ever.

Keep working on your flexibility.  The next time you reach for your toes?

You’ll be as flexible as that 2-year old.


Beast mode ON!


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9 thoughts on “2 Exercises For Front Split Flexibility

  1. Hi Rich! Great great post! Thank you for still posting flexibilitie exercises. I am still doing a lott off flexibiltie exercises 3 times a week. For months now. I improve slowly but its benefits me a lot. I get leaner and stronger and my body changing dramaticly. In a good way. Every body is different. And my is very weak and stiff from years off sitting and doing nothing. Thats why i still dont do any bodyweight exercises. Only jumping rope and flexibilitie exercises. Because i want to prepair my body for the future and rest of my life for the real work later :). And because i want too prevent injuries. As specially my shoulders. Like i had much in the past. But this i prevent with hanging!. Thanks rich.

    1. Hey Lowie,

      Thanks for your amazing message!

      I love your mindset, that’s exactly what you need to keep in mind and guess what? With that attitude you have all the time in the world to achieve your results.

      Keep up the good work and as always thanks for the support! It means a lot ;).

      Beast mode ON!

  2. Great post thanks.

    I’m going to take your advice and work on the front pike before I continue working on my front splits – I’m no where near chest-to-legs… ????

    I really like having forward lunges in there too – I’ll be adding them into the mix.

    At the moment I’ve been working on front splits followed by an L-sit progression – do you think the L-sit has any value in this kind of routine?

    Thanks again for yet another awesome post Rich.



    1. Hey Graeme,

      Great question! Haha, I know the pain :D, until recently I didn’t have a front pike either. The main reason why I recommend the front pike first is also to ‘prevent demotivation’, because the leap is a very big one. The front pike breaks it up into a nice goal in between.

      The forward lunges will definitely open up your hips greatly.

      The L-sit has a lot of value, depending on what you are working on. From my perspective it’s an essential ‘isometric’ hold with a lot of transferability to other skills, such as the pike press, stalder press, front lever etc.

      You are more than welcome, I’m honoured by your message.

      Beast mode ON!

    1. Hey Lowie,

      Haha, well…I have to dig deep for that one.

      Once I discovered the right ‘methods’ of stretching it took me about 4-6 months to get it cold, this is from having the ability to to put my hands flat on the floor with a strong stretch after a long warming up. If you are unable to even touch the floor, I’d say 6-12 months of consistent stretching depending on how your body responds.

      How is your progress going?

      Beast mode ON!

  3. Well i am pretty far too but not there yet 🙂 ill do the front pike now for about 5 months 3 times a week. And i still have muscle pain after training! But nice muscle pain 🙂 I can touch the ground but not yet with my legs straight. I think with the speed im going it takes for another 5 or 6 months i dont know ( i hope). This move i see it as a fundemental move for my body too master. Thats what i feel and what my body is saying too me. My goal is too do it as smooth as you showing in the video! I alsi start with syretching my backspine as seen from your videoblog. I start with this a month ago. Also major improvements and benefits also for my shoulder muscles. Great stretching is this! I know its boring so now and then but the benefits are importent too me. I love stretching and i never quit stretching anymore. I always want too use it before training as a warm up. That is my ultimate goal. My goal is too get my body in every move and range as possible. No limits. Very much thanks for sharing your knowlits with me and keeping me motivated. You are a good man Rich! Greetings Lowie

    1. Hey Lowie,

      Haha! Love that attitude :D. So I assume you are already sliding into that front split with ease?

      The side split is on a whole other level though.

      I’m still working on it myself, but I’ll make sure to write a post on it.

      Beast mode ON!

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