How to Do the Splits: A Step-by-Step Guide to Achieving Flexibility


Whether it’s for dance, sports, or simply to improve your flexibility, doing the splits is a coveted skill. The splits are a challenging but achievable feat that require time, dedication, and proper technique. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you step-by-step through the process of achieving the splits.

Definition of Splits

The splits refer to a position where the legs are extended in opposite directions, with one leg in front and the other behind, while the hips are open and grounded to the floor. When done correctly, the movement is graceful and elegant.

Importance of Doing the Splits

Doing the splits can bring numerous physical and mental benefits like enhancing flexibility, improving balance, increasing muscle strength, and reducing muscle stiffness. Moreover, the splits can be beneficial for dancers, gymnasts, martial artists, athletes, and other performers who require a great degree of flexibility and grace.

Brief Overview of What the Article Will Cover

In this article, we will provide a detailed step-by-step guide to achieving the splits, starting with proper body alignment, stretching and preparatory exercises, and finishing with modifications and progressions. We will also include tips on how to use visual aids, safety precautions, and modifications to suit different levels of flexibility. Let’s get started!

Step-by-Step Instructions

Explanation of Proper Body Alignment During the Splits

Before attempting the splits, it’s essential to understand proper body alignment. The hips, legs, feet, and arms should all be in the correct position to avoid injury and discomfort, and to achieve a full split.

When in a full leg split, the front leg should be extended straight to the front and the back leg extended straight to the back. The hips should be square, and both legs should be rooted into the floor. The chest and shoulders should be lifted, and the arms should be extended overhead or placed on the floor for support.

Detailed Instructions for Each Step of the Process

1. Warm-Up and Preparation

Warming up before stretching is essential to prepare the muscles and joints for the splits. Recommended warm-up exercises include jogging or doing jumping jacks for five minutes and doing dynamic stretches like leg swings, arm swings, and hip circles.

2. Initial Stretches

Begin by sitting in a straddle position and reaching forward with both hands towards your feet. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then slowly walk your hands over to one extended leg and hold for another 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

3. Hip Opening Exercises

Bring your legs together and sit with your feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind you and lean back, opening your hips. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat three times.

4. Psoas Stretch

Kneel on your left knee and place your right foot flat on the floor in front of you. Press your hips forward, feeling a stretch in the front of the left hip. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat.

5. Final Stretches for the Splits

Return to a straddle position and reach forward with both hands towards your feet. Hold this position for 30 seconds, then slowly walk your hands out in front of you, bending at the waist, until you can go no further. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.

6. Cueing Each Part of the Body

When attempting the splits, it’s essential to cue each part of the body. This means starting from the head and working down to the feet, consciously engaging each muscle group and adjusting your alignment as needed.

Visual Aids

Importance of Visual Aids for Achieving the Splits

Using visual aids like images or videos can help you better understand each stretch, see proper alignment and form, and motivate you to keep going.

Images or Videos to Demonstrate Stretches and Movements

There are many resources for finding videos and images to guide you through the splits process. YouTube is an excellent source for tutorials. You may also consider hiring a personal trainer or taking a class.

How to Use Visual Aids Effectively

When using visual aids, make sure to focus on proper body alignment and listening to your body. Avoid comparing yourself to others, and do not push yourself too hard for the sake of achieving the splits.

Stretching Exercises

Explanation of Stretching Exercises for Enhancing Flexibility

In addition to the splits-specific stretches, incorporating regular stretching can help you achieve flexibility.

1. Hamstring Stretches

Seated forward fold, standing forward fold, or lying hamstring stretch.

2. Quad Stretches

Standing quad stretch, kneeling quad stretch, or supine quad stretch.

3. Hip Flexor Stretches

Lunges, pigeon pose, or butterfly stretch

4. Calf Stretches

Downward dog pose or seated calf stretch

5. IT Band Stretches

Standing IT band stretch, lying IT band stretch

How Often to Do the Stretching Exercises

You don’t have to do all these stretches every day—you can choose a few and stick with them, rotating them out weekly. Additionally, doing these stretches before and after your splits training session helps you prepare and recover your muscles.

Tips for Combining the Stretches for Best Results

When doing the stretching exercises, focus on the area you are trying to stretch. Also, breathe deeply and avoid forcing any movements.

Preparatory Exercises

Importance of Strength-Building Exercises for the Splits

Strength-building exercises are essential in preparing the body for the splits. Building strength in the area around the hips, thighs, and core will help to avoid injury.

1. Glute Bridges

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Push your hips towards the ceiling and hold for five seconds, then release. Repeat ten times.

2. Lunges

Perform traditional lunges or walking lunges to increase strength in your hip flexors, quads, and glutes.

3. Leg Raises

Lie on your back and lift your legs straight into the air, holding them up for five seconds. Lower your legs to the ground. Repeat ten times.

4. Squats

Perform squats to build strength in your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

How Often to Do the Preparatory Exercises

Do these exercises two to three times a week, making sure to give your muscles a chance to rest and recover in between.

Safety Tips

Explanation of the Risks of Trying to Do the Splits

The splits are a challenging feat that can put a lot of strain on your muscles and joints, leading to injury if not done correctly.

Tips to Avoid Injury and Discomfort

When doing the splits, listen to your body and practice patience. Avoid pushing past your limits, forcing movements, or over-stretching. Here are some tips to help you avoid injury:

1. Listening to Your Body

If you feel pain or discomfort, stop immediately. Slowly work your way up to the full splits, building up your flexibility and strength over time.

2. Not Pushing Yourself Too Hard

Be patient and gentle with yourself. Don’t try to push past your limits too quickly, and never force a movement.

3. Taking Breaks When Needed

If you feel tired or sore, take a break and come back to your practice later.

4. Avoiding Over-Stretching

Putting too much strain on your muscles can lead to injury or even permanent damage. Take things slow and steady, and don’t force yourself into any positions you aren’t ready for.

How to Know If You Are Ready to Do the Splits

Only you can judge if you are ready to attempt the splits. If you can confidently perform the stretches and preparatory exercises, listen to your body, and avoid injury, then you are ready to try the splits.


Explanation of How to Modify the Splits for Different Levels of Flexibility

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the splits. Modifications can make the process easier or harder, depending on what your body needs.

Tips for People Who Are Just Starting to Work on Them

Start slowly and work with a coach or trainer to learn proper form and alignment. Focus on building strength and flexibility gradually and be patient with your body.

Progressions for Advancing Your Splits

Once you’ve achieved the full splits, you can work on taking them deeper by opening up your hips and shoulders, lifting your chest and pointing your toes, or doing splits on a higher plane or surface.


Explanation of the Physical and Mental Benefits of Achieving the Splits

Achieving the splits brings numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved flexibility
  • Enhanced balance and coordination
  • Increased muscle strength
  • Reduced muscle stiffness
  • Reduced stress
  • Greater focus and mental clarity

How the Splits can be a Useful Skill for Dancers, Athletes, and Other Performers

The ability to do the splits is beneficial for dancers, gymnasts, martial artists, and athletes who require a high degree of flexibility and coordination.

Real-Life Examples of People Who Have Achieved the Splits

Many people have achieved the splits through hard work, dedication, and patience. You can find inspiring stories and examples of people who have achieved the splits on social media, YouTube, and other platforms.


Recap of the Steps

Doing the splits requires time, dedication, and proper technique. To achieve the splits, you should start with proper body alignment, incorporate stretching and preparatory exercises, use visual aids effectively, and follow safety precautions. Modifications and progressions can make the process easier or harder depending on what your body needs.

Encouragement to Try Doing the Splits

The splits are a challenging but achievable feat that can improve your flexibility, balance, and strength. With practice, patience, and a positive mindset, you can achieve your goal of doing the splits.

Final Thoughts and Advice for Continuing to Work on the Splits

The most important thing to remember when trying to achieve the splits is to listen to your body and practice patience.

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