Flexibility is vital skill for every dancer to obtain. One way to tell if you are flexible is if you are able to do your splits. For some dancers it comes very easily, while others require more practice. Not to worry, with our list of tips you can be getting your splits!
1. Warm up!
Don’t attempt to stretch and work on the splits if you aren’t warm. A simple way to get your blood flowing and get those muscles moving is by doing a round of jumping jacks ( 20 or so) and then a round of high knees (lifting those knees and jumping from one foot to the other). If you repeat this for the span of two or so minutes, you will get your heart rate up and your blood pumping which will prevent you from injury and help your muscles lengthen into your stretch.
The first stretch I always recommend when a dancer is looking to get those splits is a good lunge. Make sure your knee is right above your ankle and that your hands are firmly planted on the ground. Once you feel you muscles relax in this position, go ahead and turn out your foot and put your elbows on the ground
3. Hip flexor stretch
While in your lunge, put your back knee on the ground and if possible, reach your arms up and back away from the ground. This stretch focuses on stretching out the hip flexor which is often tight in dancers from over use. If it is too much to reach up and back just focus on lengthening that hip flexor while keeping your hands on the ground.
4. Hamstring stretch
From your lunge, put your back knee on the ground and stretch out that front leg. Flex your foot, and try to put your chest on your leg. Tight hamstrings are another culprit of keeping dancers from getting their splits. The more you loosen up that hamstring, the easier the splits will happen.
5. The pigeon stretch
My personal favorite is the pigeon stretch. It’s an easy one to do while sitting in front the tv. Sit on the ground and stretch one leg behind you. Take your front leg and bend your knee keeping the foot flexed ( the knee should be turned out away from your body so you are resting on the outside of your leg)The more you can get that bend in your knee at a 90 degree angle the better. Lean over your leg going as far down as you can.
Splits are something at can be attained by all dancers, all it takes is the commitment to stretch and practice everyday!