Last night, I went to parent observation night for my daughters dance classes. She’s 15 years old now and a lot of parents don’t go to watch their kids anymore. But I’m glad I get the opportunity to go and watch the classes, because it reminds me how far she has come as a dancer and how much she’s grown. It also reminds me of all the work that goes into being able to show the end product, the recital or performance. She doesn’t just learn a dance then go and perform it. She has to put repeated effort in every week to be able to perform at a higher level. I enjoy seeing her have the ability to do leg extensions and all the other stuff that I don’t know the technical terms for.
During one of her classes her teacher was talking about how to improve your splits. She had said that when you are working on getting all the way into the split position that you are working all of your muscles, but once you get into that position you are only working one muscle and to stay in the position for a long period of time will actually deteriorate your ability to do the splits. (I’m not sure if this is because of overworking one muscle, but I do believe it is the case.) In order to continue to be able to improve your splits it is better to do shorter intervals of being in the splits, but at a higher frequency. She showed the class how to do what she calls an around the world split exercise that would increase the ability to do the splits. It was basically go into splits on one side, stay there for five seconds, then bring your leg back and be in a seal position, then go into the other side splits for another five second, then back into seal position. Doing this repeatedly for about twenty times on each side would result in better splits over the long run.
This methodology is consistent with primal endurance training where less exertion is more over the long run. It can also be found being talked about in other exercise training methodologies. It’s more about the recovery mode after the strain and about being able to reduce the recovery time needed to make a great effort.
Splits are about flexibility and flexibility allows for change to happen without getting hurt. In day to day living I think we can get off kilter if we just keep doing the same things everyday. I think a lot of people get stuck in a cycle of get up, go to work, go home, go to bed, repeat. When a traffic jam occurs that throws our schedule off. When you start believing you will never reach a goal so you give up on it. It’s not that routine is bad, but just like if you do a split for 30 seconds and don’t work all the other muscles you may lose your ability to keep a routine or go back to a routine and then you feel bad because you feel like you are out of control.
Instead I think it’s important to know what you want your future to look like and keep revisiting where you want to be, but don’t beat yourself up along the way. Go for shorter times of self-discipline more frequently, with rests in between. Don’t beat yourself up for resting. Find different ways to do your routine for a week or a month. Drive a different way home, eat something new for breakfast, See if you can get up 30 minutes later and consolidate your morning routine. Find ways to get more rest. Breathe.
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