The Best Exercises to do the Splits
The splits are an exercise that involves opening the legs in opposite directions. For the perfect splits the legs should be fully extended, creating a 180-degree angle. This exercise is quite common in ballet, gymnastics, yoga, figure skating, and contortionism.
Doing the splits implies a good level of flexibility. There are even athletes and dancers who can do the ‘oversplits’. The oversplits are when the legs extend further than 180 degrees.
There are two types of splits: the front splits and the side splits. The first is about keeping one leg extended in front of you and the other behind. The second consists of extending the legs sideways.
Exercises that will help you do the splits
Now, in order to the splits correctly, you’ll need to be patient, dedicated and of course practice. The exercises below will help you do the lateral splits.
Side stretch with a flexed leg
The lateral stretch with a flexed leg is an excellent way to gain flexibility in the muscles of the legs and the hips. Before trying it out, it’s wise to warm up to prepare your muscles for the exercise.
- Sit on the floor with your back straight, knees bent to the sides and soles of your feet together.
- Stretch your right leg to the side. Try to align it with your shoulder.
- Tilt your torso towards your stretched leg and try to touch your ankle.
- Hold that posture for ten seconds and then return to the initial position.
- Try to perform five repetitions on each side.
Your muscles should be relaxed when practicing this exercise, they should be firm but not too tense. This is another exercise that’ll help you to perform the lateral splits.
- Sit with your legs extended on each side. Your legs should be opened to where you feel comfortable. As you become more comfortable, you’ll be able to open your legs more and more.
- Turn your torso to the side and bring your hands towards your ankles.
- Return to the initial position and repeat on the other side.
- Try to complete 30 repetitions.
- Once you have finished 30 repetitions, place your hands in front of you and start moving your body forward. Keep your back as straight as you can as you move forward with your hands.
- Throughout the exercise, it’s important to breathe calmly. This will help to increase blood flow and muscle oxygenation.
- Hold the forward posture for 30 seconds.
The frog pose promotes flexibility of the hips and legs. In addition, it also helps to improve digestion, reduce menstrual cramps and release stress and anxiety. It’s advisable to use a mat while performing the frog pose in order to prevent you from hurting your knees.
- Lie on your stomach and lift your chest while resting your elbows.
- Bend your knees to each side. Try to keep your calves as straight as possible.
- Push your hips backwards slightly until they align with your thighs.
- Hold the position for 20 seconds and then repeat 4 times.
Splits with support
This is another exercise to help you do the lateral splits. It involves using the wall as a main point of support. You can also use ankle weights to increase the effectiveness of the exercise.
- In order to do this exercise, you’ll need a wall and enough space to spread your legs.
- Raise your legs until they are in contact with the wall.
- Keep your back straight and in contact with the floor.
- Open your legs as wide as you can.
- If you decide to use ankle weights, it’s important to open your legs carefully.
- Maintain the posture for a least one minute.
In conclusion, the splits are a position that can be used in different sports and dance styles. At the same time, it’s beneficial for the muscles, tendons, and ligaments, if it’s done in the right way.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Sands, W. A., McNeal, J. R., Stone, M. H., Haff, G. G., & Kinser, A. M. (2008). Effect of vibration on forward split flexibility and pain perception in young male gymnasts. International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, 3(4), 469–481. https://doi.org/10.1123/ijspp.3.4.469
- Brad Appleton. Performing Splits (Stretching). https://stason.org/TULARC/sports/stretching/index.html