How to Condition your body to do the Splits in Taijiquan

Basically, you have to condition your body by doing stretches.  Yes, stretches!   Below is a very comprehensive stretch routine that you can follow.  These are very good for doing those splits in Taijiquan, like the diecha.   Please take note of the following:

  1. DON’T do stretches more than once per day
  2. DO rest 20 seconds after each stretch
  3. DON’T stretch to the point of intense pain!  Take care that you do not pull (or tear) your muscles.
  4. And very IMPORTANT before you begin, please, please, please don’t forget  to warm-up your body before performing any of these exercises!!! 
  5. Please do the stretches in the order given above.  This is important because the stretch routine attempts to stretch a muscle fully before using that muscle to sustain a following stretch.

Here goes :
   1. lower back stretches
   2. sitting buttock stretch
   3. groin & inner-thigh stretch
   4. standing calf stretch
   5. standing hamstring stretch
   6. standing inner-thigh stretch
   7. quadricep stretch
   8. sitting L-shaped stretch

1. lower back stretches
Lie down with your back on the floor, straighten one leg, bend the knee of the other leg, then bring the thigh of your bent leg as close as possible to your chest. Hold it there for 10-15 seconds.  Next, cross your bent leg over your straight leg and try to touch your knee to the floor (try to keep both shoulders on the ground as you do this). Repeat for the other leg. Then, bend both knees and bring both thighs up against your chest (keeping your back on the floor). Hold that for 10-15 seconds. Then, put both feet on the ground but keep the knees bent. Keeping both shoulders on the ground, roll your legs over to one side and try to get your knees to touch the floor beside you. Hold for about 10-15 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Finally, repeat the same stretch, but this time get your feet off the floor with your leg bent at a 90 degree angle.

2. sitting buttock stretch
Sit on the floor with your back straight up (best to have your back against a wall to avoid slouching) and cross your legs. Uncurl one leg and bring it over the other thigh, and rest the foot on the ground beside your thigh.  Pull in the knee towards your chest.  You should feel a stretch in the buttocks.  Repeat for the other leg.

3. groin and inner-thigh stretch
Still in the same sitting position with back straight, bend your legs, and put the soles of your feet together. Try to get your heels as close to your groin as is comfortably possible. Slowly, push your knees to the floor as far as you can (use your hands to assist but do not resist with the knees) and then hold them there. Once you have attained this position, keep your knees where they are, and then exhale as you bend over, trying to get your chest as close to the floor as possible. Hold this stretch for about 20 seconds.

4. standing calf stretch
Face a wall.  Put your hands on the wall for support in front of you.  Extend one leg out behind you, keeping the sole flat on the ground, and bend the supporting leg.  Push down towards the ground and you should feel a stretch in the calfof your outstretched leg.  Repeat for the other side.

5. standing hamstring stretch
Stand and bend over with knees straight.  Now, reach toward your toes, bringing your chest toward your legs. Hold this stretch.  You may want to keep your knees straight by tensing your quads (Quadriceps).

6. standing inner-thigh stretch
Stand with legs apart, feet pointing straight ahead. Bend forward at the hips, and place both palms down on the floor. Bend right knee as you move right hand toward the right foot. Transfer weight to the right heel as left toes come up off the floor. To protect the knees, be sure that the weight is on the right heel rather than toes.  You should feel mild tension in the left inner thigh. Hold for 15 seconds then repeat on the other side.

7. quadricep stretch
Stand up straight. Bend right leg at knee, and grasp right foot behind you, with right hand.  Feel the stretch in right quadricep. Hold this stretch for a count of 8.  Repeat on the opposite side, bending left leg to stretch left quadricep.  You may choose to hold onto a chair (with one hand) for additional support.

8. sitting L-shaped stretch
Sit down with one leg bent inwards, heel towards groin.  Stretch out the other.  With your back straight, lower your chest towards the knee of your outstretched leg.  Use your hands as support at either side of your knee.  You should feel a good stretch.  Repeat on the other side.