Your Arms Are Your Secret Weapon for Achieving Splits
Say what? Splits are all about the legs, no?
Technically yes. But the process to get your legs to split apart all the way, depends on your arms!
Most people get stuck at a certain point which renders them unable to complete their splits. For some, it can be anatomically not feasible. But for most, it's the lack of technique that prevents them from going farther.
Splits are just that – split. So, both legs need to pull apart equally. That means keeping them straight all the way down and resisting the urge to twist at the hips. See, the thing is, if you can't slide your legs out without bending your knee (top photo) or twisting your hips (bottom photo), you won't ever achieve a full split because you have stopped the active process of stretching, and instead, you're now resting your weight on the part of your body that gave in, out or up.
The only way to train your body for splits, if they don't come naturally, is by using the strength in your arms to lower yourself to the floor so you can maintain proper alignment in your legs. When you do this, it enables you to inch your way down gradually and safely.
So, for front split, you use your arms on either side of you, holding the floor. That prevents you from throwing off the alignment of your legs. Your arms do the work while your legs remain controlled and in position.
The key to getting this split, in steps is:
1. Back knee cannot bend.
2. That hip must aim to the floor the whole way down. Don’t turn it out (until you are all the way down) and sit on your other hip, rocking off to the side.
3. Final step is to lift your chest. Once you are all the way down, you can untuck your toes so the top of your foot sits on the floor.
For center splits:
Hold something over your head like a yoga strap or TRX band. It has to be securely anchored to something overhead. (Or you can have someone hook their arms under your armpits and lower you down.)2.
Knees face the ceiling as you slide down.3.
Keep your body upright, shoulders lined up with hips, like a 4 corners of a box.
Tip: Socks on a slippery floor help!
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