Being able to do the front or box splits is one of the key things for dance – it allows more scope in movement and steps and also helps with kicks and other flexibility based steps too.
But improving them takes dedication and can’t be done over night – and definitely not just once a week at class!
Tips to improve your splits
- Always warm up – warmer muscles work better and prevent injury
- Never just go straight into splits – work through exercises first to loosen the muscles
- Start with a stretch with legs straight in front of you and flexed feet. Reach forward bending from the hips not your back and aim for your tummy to reach your legs. Hold the stretch as long as you can breathing in and then when you breath out, stretch a little further – getting closer to your legs each time
- Open legs to straddle (like a big v) with your knees pointing to the ceiling. Reach to the ceiling and take it to a side stretch on your left – hold for 10, repeat on the left, then take it forward – aiming to keep your knees facing the ceiling but your tummy towards the floor
- Sit on the floor – as if your legs would be crossed, leave on on the floor and stretch one out in front of you then pull it up towards your chest and hold. Repeat on the other side and then repeat our first stretch exercise
- Sit on the floor and put the soles of your feet together – aim to get your knees open and down to the floor – hold the stretch as long as you can.
These are key to improving your front splits. Step out with one foot as far as you can without pain – your foot should be flat and your knee straight above your ankle. This doesn’t have to be very far. Now, put the toe of your back foot on the ground as far back as you can with your leg straight and get into a lunge. Stretch and feel it in your groin and back of the leg. Then straighten the front leg keeping your feet where they are and aim to get your tummy on your thigh – hold this stretch. Repeat on other foot.