The Bendy Series: Getting your splits in 12 weeks

Aerial shapes and routines always look so much better when they are”splitty” but if you’re not quite there yet or starting from scratch, this easy to follow daily stretch routine from the one and only yogi Claire Bell is a game changer.

Claire is a true inspiration to us wannabe bendy people so show her your support by checking out and following her instagram for daily inspo.


Warm Up

Before you start stretching, it’s good to get the blood pumping so 5 minutes of quick cardio is a must.

  • Star jumps
  • High knees
  • Jumping squats
  • Running on the spot

Once you’re nice and warm, grab your yoga mat and find a nice spot to begin.

The stretches

Each stretch should be held for 20 to 30 seconds on each side and the whole routine shouldn’t take any more than 15 minutes.

This routine is perfect for fitting into a busy life style and can pretty much be done anywhere. Whether it’s in the morning before you go to work, after your gym workout or in the evening before you go to bed.

If completed every day, you can achieve or get close to achieving the full splits in around 12 weeks.

If you want speed up the process then aim to complete the full routine 2 or 3 times a day. It may seem intense but once you start to see results, it will definitely be worth it.

Pyramid pose

Pyramid Pose

Starting with your left foot, take a big step forward and make sure your heels are in line with each other. Hinge at the hip, bringing your chest to your leg and your hands behind you with fingers facing away.

If you are struggling to rest your chest on your leg, then soften the knees slightly but keep your back as straight as you can.

Low Lunge

Low Lunge

Get into the lunge position, making sure your front leg is bent at 90 degrees. Extend your back leg as far as you can while pushing your thigh down to the floor. This will help loosen up those hip flexors.

Remember: Always keeps your hips as square as you can (facing forwards, not to the side).

Lizard Pose

For a deeper stretch, you can move into lizards pose by leaning forwards and placing both forearms on the floor.

Backwards Lunge

Backwards Lunge

This is the reverse of the low lunge. Instead of bending your front leg, keep it straight and bend the back knee under hips. Bring your chest as close as you can to your knee.

For a deeper stretch, flex your toes towards your face so that your hamstrings are kept activated.

Pigeon Pose

Pigeon Pose

Keeping your hips square and facing forwards, bring your front leg to a 90 degree bend and stretch out your back leg as far as you can while pressing your thigh into the floor.

Steady yourself with your hands by your sides to keep your back straight and core engaged.

For a deeper stretch, bend forward and lean over your front leg. Reach your hands as far forwards as you can. You can use your fingers to walk your hands further.

Pillow Stretches

Now lets get to practising those splits.

Grabs some pillows, preferably 3 big chunky ones so that you can stack them underneath your legs and comfortably slide into the splits. It doesn’t matter if you’re not far down yet as this is just to ease yourself into it stabilise yourself.

Three…

Three Pillow Split

Cross opposite hands over opposite legs to keep your hips square and to allow your body to go as low as it can.

Split, stretch, repeat.

Two…

Two Pillow Splits

One…

One Pillow Splits

The Splits

Full splits

Congratulations! You’re now part of the splitty crew!

12 things you should know before your first pole class

So you’ve signed yourself up to start a pole class? Yay… you’re going to love it!

Pole fitness is a great way to condition your body, build up strength, improve coordination and develop flexibility.

We know it can be daunting when you’re not sure what to expect so here’s a heads up before your first class to make it a little less scary.

What to wear

For your first class, you won’t need anything more than your usual workout gear. Leggings or shorts with a sports bra and vest top will be perfect. Since you will be learning the fundamentals of spins, don’t worry about investing in expensive pole outfits, knee pads or pleasers just yet.

Arrive early

Try to arrive to class 10 to 15 minutes early. This will give you enough time to get changed, fill out any disclosure forms and say hello to the other newbies. It’s not a great look if you rock up late and interrupt the warm up. If you’re going to be late, let your instructor know – they will appreciate it.

It’s ok if you don’t nail each move first time

No one is expecting you to be perfect and able to nail every new move first time. It doesn’t matter if it takes one attempt or 100 attempts to get it right. Just keep at it and never say “I can’t do it”. Determination is more important than your ego so just because another student might get it first time, don’t let that put you off. Practice makes perfect after all.

Bruises

Ah yes… lets talk about some of the weird and wonderful bruises you’ll get. You’ll have them on your arms, thighs, legs and feet. The best bit? The more you practice, the more you’ll get and then you’ll start comparing them with your class mates. They will be your badge of honour and you’ll be proud to show them off to anyone that will look.

Whatever you do, DON’T MOISTURISE!

Unless you fancy fighting a losing battle by slipping down the pole because you have zero grip, then don’t go near the moisturiser. Even when you get a bit sweaty, it’s hard to hold on so make wiping down your pole a habit. Trust us… we know.

You’ll get super dizzy

Practising spin after spin will inevitability leave you feeling a bit queasy. When you spin, the fluid in your ears sloshes about creating that ‘super drunk dizzy’ feeling. The secret is to alternate each side rather than training the same time continiously.

Another way is prevent dizziness is to practice ‘spotting’. Dancers train this by turning their head quicker than their body and finding one focal spot in the room. Try it – it might work for you.

Forget anything you’ve seen on Instagram

Don’t even bother trying anything you’ve seen on Instagram. More often than not, the people you see pulling epic moves on Insta have been training for a long time and make even the hardest moves look easy. Building up a solid foundation during your initial training is the best way to improve and develop a good skill set. Correct form is key to preventing injury and working your way up to those trickier moves.

Leave your ego at the door

Everyone is here to learn and no one wants to be around another student who thinks that they are better than everyone else. If you are able to nail a move straight away or have more strength than someone else then for the love of God, don’t rub it in! Being a show off won’t win you any friends and is likely to piss off your teacher as well. It’ll be awesome that you managed to do your first spin spot on so just enjoy the moment and be humble.

Forget the photoshoot

There will be plenty of time to get lots of pictures to fill up your social feed but not in your first class. Learning the basics and paying attention is more important. Being distracted by your phone will prevent you from listening and understanding the instructions from your teacher properly and at worst you might end up hurting yourself.

You’ll be sore in the morning

If you’re not used to working out or Are new to using your upper body then you’re gonna feel it in the morning. Your arms, shoulders and back are likely to hurt and will take a day or two to recover. Remember to eat lots of protein rich food, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep.

Don’t be self conscious

View this post on Instagram

💕✨

A post shared by Positive Body Image 💕 (@positivebodyimage) on

Forget what you’ve seen on YouTube or social media – not everyone is super slim, rocking a 6 pack and a huge round booty. Pole is for ALL body shapes whether you’re short, tall, lean or curvy and you should be proud of how you look. Don’t worry about anyone else and flaunt what you have! If nothing else, pole will give you the confidence to strut around the studio in your sexy shorts without a care in the world.

Most importantly…have fun

Finally, just have fun. You’re not there to compete with anyone, you’re there to learn and have fun. Yes it might be tough and yes it might hurt but smiling and having a laugh will make it a lot easier.

If you’re interested in trying it out a class, then I highly recommend you check out Aerial Empire which is owned and ran by Emily Hawthorne. Located 10 mins walk from Leeds City Bus Station, Aerial Empire offer a range of classes suitable for all abilities and at very reasonable prices.

12 things all aerialists can relate to

1. Bruises will become your badge of honour

You’ll forever be covered in bruises and take great pride in showing them off to your aerialist friends.

2. When you finally nail a move, no one will see

Image result for missed meme

No matter how hard you try you can never recreate it 

3.And when you fall, EVERYONE will see and it will probably be caught on camera

It’s inevitable that you will take a tumble and when you do, everyone in class and on the Internet will see you making a tit of yourself.

4.Hot baths and foam rollers will be your new best friend

5.Your hands will NEVER be soft again

Callouses will take over your hands and you’ll be so proud of them.

6.The phrase ” Be careful of the danger zone” will make you internally cringe

Image result for danger zone meme ariel

It will also make your eyes water on those occasions when you slip and nip something down there…

7. Your whole wardrobe will ONLY consist of leggings

And you’ll still struggle to find a pair you want to wear

8. New muscles will appear out of no where

You’ll feel like wonder woman and flex those muscles at every opportunity.

9. You’ll push yourself to new limits

When you look back at your progress over the last 6 months and feel so proud you did it

There will be mornings when you wake up and feel as though you’ve been hit by a bus.

It will look damn hard but after a few tries you’ll manage it and smile with pain while trying to hold it for a picture

Because no one can remember the actual names…even the teachers!