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I've always been very inflexible and it never bothered me until five years ago. Flexibility began to transpire as the missing link to my climbing improvement. Since then, I've taken up acro-yoga. I'm quite fit. In four years of training, my "front bend" (=reaching down, standing with legs straight) improved from "I can put my palms to my knees" to "hands almost flat on the floor". This is massive and it took very many hours. It also leads me to believe that given time and the right exercises, I might be able to do basic splits some day. Then again, I'm 35. and I've never been a bit flexible. How far can I go? This Tom Kurz summary didn't answer my question. I'd be happy for any advice and evidence on stretching. I already manage to do stretches almost every night (It's awesome!).

thanks

  • To add a bit to Wood's answer, a common test to see whether you'll ever be able to do the splits is being able to do one leg at a time (say, at a hip-height table) to find out whether your hips have sufficient flexibility, although I think that might be more indicative of "you can do the splits once you get past the mental block). There's also an answer at fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/29906/… that indicates that if you can do 110 degrees now, you're probably good. – Sean Duggan Sep 9 at 15:07
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It depends. It's not just about age. A lot of 35-year-olds can do the splits, but some people simply will never be able to do it no matter how much they train. You'll either see a steady improvement over the weeks, or you'll reach a plateau. If you plateau too soon, it's likely that you'll never make it. So take it easy and don't force yourself. If you feel too much pain and you feel like you can't do it, simply stop. I've had some injuries from overstretching and I really regret it.

If you want a good starting point for learning more about stretching, read this document. It seems to be unbiased and scientifically grounded. It also lists several references and has a chapter specifically on working towards the splits.

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