After posting the above picture I’ve received many questions about how I got safely(!) into the splits at 38.
You can find my answers below, as well as info on Stacey Nemours online flexibility program for dancers, which is what I worked with at the time.
Update 01.11.2018: The course mentioned above is no longer available, so I heartily recommend checking out Stacey’s new(!) online flexibility courses here.
Tip: Use code ‘khalidadance‘ on checkout for 10% off all Stacey’s new flexibility courses – also valid for the package deals!
On to the questions!
1. What method did you use for practising splits?
I have been working with Stacey Nemour’s online flexibility course for dancers, a program with stretching modules in a specific sequence, to work on splits as well as on general flexibility.
2. Why did you start to work on flexibility?
For practising/performing Middle Eastern Dance my flexibility was not a personal priority at first, although I did feel limited by my range of motion at times, and I struggled with posture/alignment issues for years.
When I started taking classes in Classical Ballet and Martial Arts (TaeKwonDo) in addition, I noticed more and more that my lack of flexibility/mobility was becoming a limitation to my overall progress and technique.
In my search for freedom of movement I bumped into Stacey‘s online flexibility course, and I decided to try out what it could do for me.
Once I noticed how good it made my body (and mind!) feel, the motivation to ‘go deeper’ with the stretching program grew, and getting closer to doing the splits became an almost natural consequence.
3. What do you like about Stacey’s program?
I like that the instruction is very clear and divided in short modules (about 15-30 minutes each, some of the advanced ones are shorter) which are set up in a logical order.
This means I can use it at my own pace, sometimes with just a few modules as a warmup before dance class, and other times (when I have the time/energy for it) as a full-on flexibility intensive.
Another thing I love is Staceys deep knowledge and her positive attitude, and above all how she encourages listening to your own body while still working to keep progressing steadily over time.
4. How does it differ from other flexibility courses/DVDs?
I have tried several different flexibility-focused DVDs/courses (and even books!) over the years, but Stacey’s online flexibility course has so far been the only program that has helped me improve my flexibility in a gentle, pain-free(!), and still palpable way.
I believe that a part of why it works so well for me is the emphasis on consistency and repetition, patience and awareness in practice, adapting the level of stretch to your own flexibility level, relaxation and breathing, variation of exercises, and attention to proper alignment, sequencing and form.
It feels more like a long-term course where you expand and deepen your skills over time (like in dance and martial arts classes), as opposed to the ‘get results FAST’ approach of some DVDs, which for me only caused frustration and impatience/ injury.
5. How does the payment work? Are the videos from the program downloadable, or do you ‘rent’ them?
The course is not downloadable, but it works with a ‘forever streaming’ system, meaning you pay once to receive full streaming access to the course videos, including any ‘Q&A’ updates.
6. Is this course also beneficial for a not-so-naturally-flexible person?
Yes, absolutely. The modules build up gradually in difficulty level, and Stacey offers adaptations and variations with props/straps/blocks where applicable.
You can work with them at your own pace, and pause the videos to repeat exercises wherever you feel your body could use a bit more repetition/time.
8. How often do you do the stretches?
It depends. For ‘maintenance mode’ I try to at least do the warmup or condensed stretching routine once a day, preferably before any dance or martial arts classes.
When I want to work on improving splits specifically I try to do at least the first few modules plus the splits module a few times a week.
When I feel up to it I add more modules once or twice a week, as many as I have time/energy for that day.
9. Do you combine it with other exercises/programs?
I use a combination of rope skipping and kettle bell training (I will post about my routines more in detail later), combining strentgh and cardio in short intervals, 2 to 3 times a week.
It helps me apply my now expanding range of motion in a varied way, and both routines help me develop movement skills for dance as well as martial arts.
10. Has working on your flexibility helped your dancing/martial arts practice? How?
Yes, definitely! Working on the fundamentals of movement translates into every aspect of life. See question 2 for more on that 🙂
11. Who is the creator/teacher of this flexibility program?
The course is created and taught by Stacey Nemour, a martial artist and experienced flexibility expert. She also used to be a gymnast!
12. What about those Stacey stretching straps? Are they essential to the program or can I use other ones as well?
To get started with the course anything you have right now will be fine.
Ankle weights/a yoga strap/a towel can be used in some cases, plus doing the stretches without anything is still better than not doing them at all.
However, the Stacey straps with loops are very convenient in case you want to add some resistance to the stretches, or when it is difficult to reach your feet with your hands.
Use coupon code ‘Khalidadance’ for 10% off all straps purchases via the button below!
Let me know via the comments below if you have any other questions 🙂