Improve Flexibility: Mastering Of Splits And Pancakes
Today we bring to you an interview with the flexible sister duo Margarita and Christina and they will be sharing with you their journey on flexibility and some challenges and tips they picked up along the way. They will also be sharing how their flexibility training is like as well as advice for you if you are starting or has already started on the flexibility training journey of your own.
WHO ARE THEY?
Marga is an advanced level pole dancer and has participated in amateur level competition and holds the title of “The Brass Barree’s Freestyle Battle Queen” whereas Christina has a versatile dance background from hip hop, tap, contemporary dance and pole dancing. She have been consistent in building her strength and flexibility to compete internationally.
WHEN AND WHY DID THEY STARTED LEARNING SPLITS/PANCAKES?
It all started as a sibling thing where Marga started training splits when she saw Christina training for it and wanted to see if she could do it as well. She managed to achieve her front splits in secondary school but lost it for a period of time as she did not continue training until in 2018 where she started working on her overall flexibility.
It was Marga’s aim to get her flexibility back after losing it, and over time she found more reasons to train her flexibility to have beautiful lines when she dances. Marga explained that the ability to do more tricks requires some degree of flexibility, and the sense of satisfaction from achieving each minor milestone motivates her to work more on her flexibility. “It has become a journey where I learned to enjoy and develop interested in this craft.” said Marga.
WHAT IS THEIR TYPICAL FLEXIBILITY TRAINING REGIME LIKE?
“Twice a week, one hour each session” was their answer.
“If I can’t follow through with this on some weeks, I will find ways to incorporate some deeper stretches in her warm-ups before my self practice pole dance sessions and throw in some tricks that supplement this as well.” said Marga. Some of her deeper stretches includes oversplit stretches and tricks that require the same level of flexibility. “On rare days I will work on my middle split which is my least favorite part to train” said Marga jokingly.
As for Christina, her typical training session would be an hour long focusing on certain muscles groups and always trying to incorporate active flexibility work.
WHAT CHALLENGES DID THEY FACE WHILE LEARNING SPLITS/PANCAKES?
Marga big challenge is getting the right form to make sure she is stretching safely while maximizing the stretch because sometimes getting into the right form itself can be a challenge. Marga makes a conscious effort to focus on each stretch and try to progressively improve her form. It’s definitely not something that came easy to her because she really needs to be aware of her body. “It would help when you have someone stretching with you because they will be able to help you check and correct your form”, suggested Marga.
As for Christina, she faced days where she have difficulty in finding motivation to stretch. “Let’s face it, stretching can hurt and may seem really mundane, but I usually set a certain goal in mind (usually a trick I want to do) to help me push through”, shared Christina. It was the saying “Embrace the suck” by Tom Merrick that kept her motivated and pushing through her flexibility trainings.
They also shared that overcoming the pain should hurt and will hurt but there’s good pain and bad pain. Good pain should feel like there’s some mild tension or some degree of discomfort but nothing sharp and highly discomforting as this might mean you have strained, overstretched, or pulled something, which is bad pain.
WHAT IS THE ONE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR WHEN IT COMES TO SPLITS/PANCAKES?
Consistency is the key factor when it comes to flexibility trainings. “Unless you’re naturally flexible, it’s quite unlikely that you will get your splits/pancakes in a short period of time. You have to be consistent in dedicating time to stretch to see results” said Marga. “I personally think that training with intention and consistency is the most important” said Christina.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD THEY GIVE TO BEGINNERS WHO ARE STARTING ON THEIR SPLITS/PANCAKES JOURNEY?
“Have patience, some people can achieve their flexibility goals in weeks, and others take years so be patient with your body and celebrate every little milestone along the way. Being patient can make your flexibility journey a lot more rewarding, a lot less painful and a lot more enjoyable’, advised Marga, “You’ll also want to experiment with dynamic and static stretches to find out what type of stretches works for you and incorporate more of such stretches into your own training.”
Christina advised, “Be patient with yourself, everybody’s body is different. Your stretch journey is YOUR OWN journey, enjoy it!” Christina also suggested to take inspiration from other people online but never compare their progress to yours. Use others as your motivation and not as a way to put yourself down.