For dancers, splits are an important skill to successfully acquire. Splits are an integral part of a dancer’s flexibility, immediately impacting the strength of his/her extensions, leaps, and body lines.
Daily, proper practice will greatly improve a dancer’s splits.
When practicing front splits (right and left), it is important to remember:
(1) Keep the torso and upper body fully squared over the center of the body.
(2) Do not allow the body’s placement to sink into the back hip.
(3) The back knee should be turned under versus out.
(4) Maintain turnout and rotation for the front leg and foot.
(5) Fully stretch the front foot.
There are a few ways to practice and stretch your middle split:
(1) When stretching in second position on the floor (straddle position), legs and feet should maintain a rotated versus turned in position (knees should point towards the sky). In the center, lengthen arms to their fullest extent and gradually increase reach and flexibility in the position.
(2) Press your hands behind the buttocks and lift up to lengthen your spine towards the ceiling.
(3) Sit on the floor facing a wall and get as close to the wall as possible. Lift the legs onto the wall and open to the center straddle. Allow gravity to properly increase the stretch.
(4) Place hands in the center of the straddle and lift the straddle off the floor. You can deepen the stretch on your elbows at the top of the the center of the split. Complete the stretch by rolling through the center straddle.
Remember: it is always important to warm-up prior to practicing flexibility skills. Always make safety a priority.