About five weeks ago I embarked on a four week journey to teach my body how to do the splits. Now if you’re math savvy you’ll notice the anomoly in the previous sentence. For me, four weeks is not nearly enough time to learn how to rip the two halves of my body from each other like a Thanksgiving wishbone.
I’ll readily admit there was no way I was going to meet the four week goal. But I do have a a bit of an excuse because I pulled one or more major muscles in the lower half of my body last friday. Ok, technically that happened after the four weeks was up but it certainly felt like a contributing factor.
All this is simply to restate the obvious: I failed my initial splits experiment. But I’m not giving up entirely. I won’t let this defeat me. I’m going to get right back to stretching for the splits – as soon as I no longer have to use a cane to walk.
Well, after one week of splits specific stretching I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m in a lot of pain. I really haven’t been overdoing the stretches but I think I’m pulling on muscle groups that I haven’t pulled on for a long time, if ever.
I think I’ve noticed a slight improvement in my flexibility from when I started so it’s not all pain and no gain. From the pictures above you can notice I’m getting a tiny bit lower. I’ve actually been enjoying the stretches and besides the pain that I feel the next day, I feel better for doing them.
Throughout the four week program you do two base stretches
continuously. A third stretch is then rotated in on week by week basis. So, at
any time you are only doing three stretches total. This is great because it
makes sticking to it easier.
I have to admit, I lost my drive for this little project
over the last day or so. But I’m sticking with and am bound and determined to
finish out the four weeks. I think the next goal I set for myself will be
mental rather than physical.
I love how-to books. There’s something about the promise of
learning a new skill, no matter how arcane, useless or difficult, that draws me
I was drawn in last weekend at the library by a book called “Even
the Stiffest People Can Do the Splits” by Eiko. On the front cover was a slightly
smiling woman whose legs were splayed out like the two halves of a gutted fish.
To make this scene even more terrifying and mentally disturbing, the woman’s
upper torso was lying flat on the floor in front of her apparently rubber
I thought this looked fun so I grabbed the book and checked
it out along with a couple books of poetry and one on particle physics.
It took me a day or two to finally get around to reading the
book. I was avoiding it out of fear I would actually try it. But, as I began to
read through it I started thinking maybe I could actually do these creepy and
painful looking splits.
There’s probably a reason all of the example models in the
book are short, old Japanese women. I figured 41 year old white males who have
never been particularly limber aren’t supposed to do the splits. But after only
about 30 pages of stretching instructions, the book takes an odd turn and for
the next hundred pages or so we’re told a moral splits story that involves two
men and a woman.
It’s somewhat difficult to describe the story. One of the men teaches the other man and the woman how to do the splits after they accidentaly interupt him doing the deed in his office. He also teaches them why learning the splits will make them better at their jobs (they work in a trading company) and at life in general. Notable quotes include “Well, you’ve caught me in a compromising position, haven’t you?” and “…you probably ought to slip off your pumps, first”.
I was especially moved by the chapter titled “Light the Fire of the Splits in Your Heart”. I don’t know if it was more painful to get through the book’s stretches or the story.
I’m not totally inexperienced with the splits. I’ve split
the seat of my pants a couple of times; I’ve been told “let’s split!” by people
cooler than me and I’ve eaten a banana split. But I don’t think any of those
life experiences are going to help me rip my groin in half.
And this lady isn’t expecting just the splits. No, she wants me to rest my head on the floor in front of me too. This is like a masochist book or something. But I’m going to give it the old college try.
The book is touted as a four week stretching plan to achieve amazing health. Whatever, I just want to creep people out. I’ll keep you posted for the next four weeks as to my progress.