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How to improve your splits?

"The school of classical dance has everything you need to develop the splits, elastic, flexible, free and stable", said the Russian teacher N.I Tarasov. The myth of the splits is revered by all classical dance enthusiasts. Long-term work requiring rigor and listening to the body, the lateral or right splits are performed on the sagittal plane, one leg stretched out in front of you, the other behind. The splits, a feat that seems impossible to you? Yet it is within everyone's reach. But the quality of the flexibility work is essential to the success of this movement. Here are some tips to do in class or at home to get there.

In preamble

Each stretching session should follow an effort activating the cardio-respiratory and musculo-tendinous systems. Dance class is the best time to work on your splits. If you do this at home, be sure to warm up first. The flexibility of muscles and joints requires slowness in its execution. Control and listening must avoid jolts and the spring effect because the muscles react to sudden movements with protective contraction reflexes. Accompanied by a deep and calm breath, adapt the duration of the stretch according to your objectives.

Practice and know-how in three benchmarks

The first mark is the 'en-dehors' of the legs, particularly the front one. The hip being made up of a concave housing, it is necessary that the legs turn on the outside to favor the alignment of the thigh with the pelvis. At the moment of the split, turn the front leg outwards. Visualize this rotation during the effort. Don't think about lowering your splits but continually rotating your legs.

Second mark, the hand. During the effort, the two hands on the ground balance you on the ground, it is then likely that the line drawn by the splits is off axis. To remedy this, shift your weight to the hand opposite the forward slid leg. The further down you go, the more ground you will absorb from this hand. Find the feeling of stretching in opposition as proposed at the beginning of the article.

The third mark is the 'glissé'. Its realization must combine the two landmarks mentioned above. So during the splits, start sliding only with the front leg while continuing to look from 'en-dehors'. Gradually transfer your weight to the opposite hand during the descent. Breathe and hold the position for a few seconds. You can start the movement on your knees by advancing your leg in front of you and then placing your hands on the ground.

Proceed in successive stages, interrupting the slide with a few active pauses to prevent your muscles from becoming defensive. Before sliding into a split, take a deep breath and engage your core. During exercise, always hold your breath, avoiding apnea. Relax and then resume stretching. The first draft is rarely enough.

Improve practice

This type of splits is accessible to everyone with time and listening. The flexibility is obtained by the thigh and the pelvis. The head of the femur is housed in a concave housing which does not hinder the acquisition of this large gap - except against medical indications. The most stressed muscles are the hamstrings, the quadriceps and the iliopsoas located at the bottom of the column and attached to the pelvis.

On the ground

Lying on your back with the abdominals engaged, the whole of the column is in contact with the ground. Extend the right leg in front of you and grasp it with the left hand. Spread the other hand on the ground and fold up the inactive leg if you wish. During this opposition of the limbs, continue to breathe and maintain your whole spine on the ground. Keep the outside of the right leg. Hold your left leg at the foot of a bar in the event of a shift. Alternate legs and repeat the stretch.

During class

This same stretch can be done during class. During the leg on the bar, when leaning forward, remember to bring the opposite shoulder by sliding your hand on the bar. The work of stretching the back of the leg is found throughout the bar. During the foot in the hand, try to find the sensations of the stretching proposed on the ground. Maintain the fourth position on a bent leg on the ground then on a straight leg.

On the ground

Sit on your knees. By advancing the left foot in front, shift the weight of the body to the front by bending the knee. Then place your hands on the floor inside the left foot. Stabilize with the shoulders over the wrists and slide the right knee back. Your breathing will control the abdominal belt. The right thigh forms an oblique line with your bust. Inhale and bend the left knee gradually by pushing on your arms.

During class

You perform the same type of extension in progress during the large arabesque lunge. At the time of the descent, the student likes to tilt his bust forward even if the teacher suggests following the descent a lean. It is necessary to take care of the 'en-dehors' of your legs and the extension of the back leg. Finally, try to maintain the position with the verticality of your bust for a few seconds.

On the ground

Lie on your left side with your legs bent towards your chest. Rest your head on the left arm. Breathe and feel the verticality of your spine. Grab your right ankle with your hand then slide gradually by engaging your abs with the knee back. Arrived at the extension of the right hip, stabilize the position. The thigh is parallel to the ground, the other leg remains folded in front of you on the ground. Breathe and contract the right buttocks for a few seconds then release. Alternate legs and repeat the stretch.

You can also consider this stretch at the end of class. The quadriceps and the iliopsoas will have been strongly solicited during the course and the jumps.

Barre exercises promote the extension of the muscles needed for the splits. They must be understood and rigorously controlled. Time is your best ally. Be kind to yourself. Even if stretching helps to increase venous and lymphatic drainage, it will not always be as effective as you would like. Your daily life will decide: the alchemy of food, the state of a scar, etc. Do not hesitate to alternate your objectives with the article "How to improve the 'en-dehors".

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