Saturday, January 21, 2012

Splits tutorial: how to do the splits

Splits Tutorial: How to do the Splits

This post is kind of self explanatory. A few disclaimers:

-This post is split into different sections for the very, very beginners, and the people who are stuck in “split limbo” and are almost-all-the-way-down-but-not-quite.

-There are many different ways to learn and get flexible. This is my way, and may not have the same results for everybody.

-It’s never too late. I started when I was 13 and I know people who have successfully started later.

-You should be at least a little bit flexible before starting this. Like, at least be able to touch your toes.

Okay, splits. These will distinguish you from the average beginner. One way more advanced dancers can tell if you’re going to be serious or not, is by your splits. Even if you don’t consider yourself flexible, anyone who works hard can get them. It’s not difficult, and people can tell when you practice and make progress and when you don’t.

The most important preface to this post is stretch everyday. Every day you don’t practice is a day you get worse. In general, the gap is two days in a row you can get away with without stretching, and not lose progress.

You should always start with some sort of warm up. Stretching cold is one of the worst ways you can hurt your body. Do some jumping jacks, run, or learn some fun hip hop routine  from Youtube. 

Warm Up
  Be aware that splits need a lot of different muscles in your body, besides hamstrings. So here are some stretches you should do every time before attempting your split.

Put your knees apart, put your hands on your knees, and take turns pressing them back. It gives your muscles a nice stretch. Then press both knees back at once.

Straighten your legs and reach down, looking back between your legs, then go ahead and take it to the side. Try to keep a flat back and touch the floor(and if you can do that, try to get your nose on your knee).
Then take it to a lunge.

When your lunge is all warmed up, try to put your elbows on the floor.
Repeat for your left side.
Side split-Beginner
1.  How should you start out your split? People start in all sorts of funky positions, but the best way to start without hurting yourself is to keep your weight evenly distributed on both feet. It's alright if it starts out something like this:

Stretch like this everyday. Do push yourself past your comfort zone a bit, but don't overdo it. You should feel discomfort, but not sharp pain. If you feel sharp pain, stop.

2. As you get lower, use your hands to help yourself. Be in control of how your weight is distributed. For side splits, your hands should always be on either side of your leg. Leaning from side to side to help you get lower is called cheating.

This is a "cheating" split, with the legs not straight and the hips tilted to one side.

This is the same split in the proper position. 

Always practice both your right and left the same amount.

Middle Split

One thing that will really help your side splits is to work on your middle(or straddle split). Your legs need to be stretched in all directions to be really flexible, so plan on working your middle split. There are many different was to do this. This is the warmup:

1.) First of all, just sit your butt down on the floor and open your legs as wide as you can. 

2.) Then, stretch to both sides while pointing your feet. stretch side to side as low as you can. Try to put your nose on your knee.,

3.) After that-this is the hard part-slooowlly roll it forward. This stretch can be difficult for beginners but just stretch as far as  you can. 

4.) The most important thing is to try and keep a flat back. The goal of the stretch is to get your chest and stomach on the floor, not your head. 

5.) After you've stretched this out, you can try your actual straddle split. Just spread your legs apart while keeping your feet either to the side or forward. 

6. ) As you get lower, use your hands to support you, and eventually, your elbows. As in your side split, always stay in control of how much weight is on your legs. You don't want to pull muscles.

7.) Another stretch that's a lot more comfortable is to just find a wall and scoot up to it, then open your legs toward the ceiling. You can do this while reading, or listening to music, just try to push your knees closer to the ground with your hands. This doesn't stretch you as much, so don't use it as a replacement for the other stuff.

Splits-Tips for people who are stuck in split limbo OR people who already have splits and want to go to over-splits and leg holds.

-Some more stretches that really help your legs are:

-Over splits-Put your front leg on a stair or pile of pillows and go into your split. The goal is to get your hips on the floor.

-Lie down on the floor and, while keeping your entire hips on the floor, try to extend your leg and pull it up to your face. Most of you(even those who are very close in the splits), will only get to ninety degrees at first. This is okay. Don't cheat and bend your leg, or lie on your side instead of your back.
-Leg holds. You can hold onto something for balance and grab your ankle and extend. You want to eventually get your leg all the way up to your head. Also, keep your hips square and don't lean to the side. I'm bad at these, but here are my pictures.

-This is a front one. For a front leg hold, you should always be holding onto your leg with both hands. 

-You can also put your leg up on a barre-or in a door way-and stretch that way.

-Or against the wall. This helps with your six-o-clock too. (My six-o-clock still isn't all the way, so I don't have a picture of it here.)

You can also try more fun stuff. I don't have the back flexibility required for a scorpion yet, but I'm working on it. 

This is my pathetic back bend.  This is from push-up(not standing) although I can do standing too.

I hope this helps, and at the very least, you learn some new stretches. Sorry this took so long.


  1. You're very flexible Amaranthine!!! Compared to most people. I've got my splits down (not center though) but everything else, I'm just pathetic.
    Great post. :) I was totally thinking about doing dance video tutorials. We should collaborate.

  2. Excellent post!!!!! I am very impressed!

    Two things. First thing, you are extremely bendy.
    Second thing, we wear the same type of dance outfit. XD (i have the same artoo shirt and black leggings!) :D

    Love you!!! Great post!!!! <3

  3. Nice post! Qui's right, you really are flexible :)
    Epic outfit, BTW :D

  4. Ouch. Just looking at that makes me sore. :P What about if you can't even touch your toes? Do you have any helpful ideas? :D

    I have a new blog!!

  5. WOW! you are very flexible! I am working on my splits, but cant go down at ALL.

  6. Flexible! What is a scorpion? Just wondering, I have all these down, I had to do them in gymnastics all the time. :) Love the shirt!

  7. I should do this. I'm nowhere near as flexible as I could and should be, lol.

  8. HOW did I never comment on this??? XD Thanks for the tips Amar! I'm stretching right now, and browsing the web on my phone. :D I will be doing a blog post soon on my bendy-ness progress. XD You have the leg flexability, and have the back stuff. XDDD

  9. Hi there! How do you feel about commercial pop-ups placed on regular blogs?


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