The splits are an impressive move that all dancers should learn.
Whether it’s for ballet, a hip-hop battle, modern jazz choreography, the font or side splits is a common part of a standard dance warm-up routine.
But not everyone is cut out for this move. This will depend on your level of motivation, age, and experience.
To help you in this process, here are some exercises to do regularly for better results.
Have you just persuaded yourself to learn how to do the splits when you’re as flexible as an ironing board?
It will take time and determination, but nothing is impossible.
So let’s begin with the rules of this art form. First of all, never underestimate the importance of the warm-up.
In any sport, the warm-up is the first step to a successful workout. It helps avoid injury that can sometimes be quite serious, especially when trying to do the splits without adequate preparation.
If you’ve already been active, make the most of being warmed-up and do some dance stretching exercises.
Swimming, running or brisk walking are great activities to start working on your cardio. New sports are even starting to crop up and can be very effective for working on our endurance.
Stretching exercises should last around 30 seconds each in order to be effective.
Repeat in a set so that your muscles get used to being worked. But be careful, don’t pull your muscles too hard!
Even if you’re in a hurry to become more flexible, taking your time is the best way to succeed.
It is recommended to stop when it starts to hurt. If this happens, do not try to keep going.
And to give your warm-up a boost, consider wearing suitable clothing. That means clothes that make you feel comfortable, that are breathable and keep you warm enough.
Why not do your warm-up in a park? Source: Visual Hunt
If you do these exercises alone, this doesn’t stop you from asking an instructor from time to time to avoid making mistakes and hurting yourself.
The front splits is often the most well known and the most popular among beginners. It always leaves an impression.
But it takes a lot of time and effort to succeed in doing such a feat of flexibility. Because not all of us are contortionists.
To achieve this, dancers must regularly work their muscles including the hamstrings and inner thighs.
Here are some exercises that will help you master the famous splits and amaze everyone!
Animal and insect lovers don’t be fooled by the name of this exercise. Because actually, this is a form of torture.
To do this move, sit on the floor leaning against a wall if possible.
Place the soles of your feet on the floor and grab your ankles. Lower your chest forward slowly while lowering your knees to the ground.
Be careful not to overdo it. This is your first exercise and your body needs to get used to it. Moreover, forcing the move will only cause injury.
You just have to be patient to reach your dream of doing the splits.
To go one step further, reposition yourself back against the wall and stretch your legs out in front of you, making sure they are touching the ground.
Spread them out as much as possible. Try to move them towards the wall.
Of course, it isn’t doable yet because you are still practicing, but do your best without forcing the movement too much.
The second step is to push your chest forward. You should feel this work the inside of the thighs.
There’s another variation of this exercise which continues to work the inside of the legs.
Stay in the V position and don’t take your bum off the ground. Stretch your torso forward, positioning yourself above each leg alternately.
It’s not just for dancing! Source: Pixabay
This last exercise is more relaxing than the previous ones.
Just lie down with your back on the floor and bum glued to the wall.
Extend your legs in a V position just like the previous exercise.
The only difference is that your legs will be in the air this time. Gravity will do its magic on your legs and this will gently stretch them.
This exercise allows you to relax at the end of a training session because it does not require a huge amount of effort. All you have to do is let yourself go.
The strange part is, that to be really effective, you need to do this exercise for a good ten minutes. But see it as a way of progressing as well as a breathing exercise.
Because breathing is so important in each of these exercises. It helps us withstand pain and stress better.
The sideways splits are less popular than its famous counterpart, yet, in dance, it is important to master it.
By performing these few exercises regularly, you will reach your goal and maybe become a professional dancer one day.
First of all, the front lunge is a position that needs to be held for about 30 seconds.
It involves moving one leg forward and positioning it at right angles.
The back leg should be stretched out far behind without forcing it too much. If it hurts, stop immediately. You only need to feel a slight pull on the muscles.
Another variant of the front lunge also improves flexibility to help you master the splits.
This requires a slight readjustment of the classic front lunge. This time the back knee needs to be on the ground. Hold in this position for 30 seconds before releasing.
Can you scratch your nose with your toes? Source: Pixabay
Now let’s go to the back lunge.
This allows you to alternate between different types of lunges so as not to tire yourself out or put too much strain on the same areas.
The back lunge works the posterior muscles of the thigh. For this, you have to shift your body weight onto the back leg by stretching out the front one.
All kinds of lunges can work the leg muscles and loosen them up.
The key is to alternate these different lunges to work several muscle groups in the same workout.
Once the lunging exercises are complete, return to the previous position and try to lower your elbows forward while keeping your back leg straight. This will work the pelvic muscles one last time.
Now you’re ready to try the sideways splits.
Success will be gradual but you can now try to get your pelvis down to your personal limit, always taking into account your pain threshold.
The splits is an exercise that takes time, a lot of time.
Especially if you have never done gymnastics before or any other sport that requires great flexibility.
The time you have to spend to work up to this move depends on a variety of factors.
Some people retain good reflexes from previous years of exercise or sport. It will, therefore, be less difficult for them to find a benchmark and exercises to perform. Moreover, their body will more or less have preserved the memory of their previous training.
If you have never done a gym or dance class, the success of this exercise will depend on other factors.
Some people are more flexible than others and have greater potential to be a flexible dancer: it can be a stroke of luck.
Be as flexible as a cat! Source: Visual Hunt
Age is also a key factor. The younger you are, the easier it will be to do the splits and learn it in a very short period of time. Over time the body becomes much less flexible.
This does not mean that exercise is out of the question, but that you will need more patience and perseverance to achieve your goals.
Motivation is your best friend!
The desire to know how to do the splits must be strong to not give up after the first exercise.
You must also take into account how frequently you’re training. One workout per month will make it very difficult to see results.
On the other hand, practicing a little every day, doing dance classes at school or at your local gym, for example, you will progress much faster.
Of course, when you learn to do the splits, it is sometimes difficult to find time in the day to practice. By getting an instructor or taking dance lessons, your routine may be more consistent.
It’s up to you to decide which road is the right one for you.