Side splits

Bruno@MT

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Is this something everybody can do, with enough practise?
I am generally fery flexible. I can do all sort of flexibility tricks like touching my inside wrist with my thumbs, bend my fingers back 90 degrees, put my hands flat on the ground with my legs kept straight, and then bend my elbows, etc.

Only side splits frustrate me.
I have been stretching and strengthening my legs for 3 months now. And while there is some increase in flexibility, I am still nowhere near side split. My groin is still a foot and a half from the ground, and my inner thigh muscles are then taut as steel cables.

Any advice?
 

Aiki Lee

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well you're certainly more flexible than I am, and I don't think my flexibility is all that bad.

I think flexibility may have something to do with age, and it may not be possible for people who have progressed to a certain point. But I don't really know. I could be wrong.
 

Thesemindz

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Is this something everybody can do, with enough practise?
I am generally fery flexible. I can do all sort of flexibility tricks like touching my inside wrist with my thumbs, bend my fingers back 90 degrees, put my hands flat on the ground with my legs kept straight, and then bend my elbows, etc.

Only side splits frustrate me.
I have been stretching and strengthening my legs for 3 months now. And while there is some increase in flexibility, I am still nowhere near side split. My groin is still a foot and a half from the ground, and my inner thigh muscles are then taut as steel cables.

Any advice?

No, not everyone can do the side splits.

Flexibility is a result of several physical factors, including muscle strength, muscle length, and the shape of the joints. These factors are generally similiar amongst most people, but specifically unique to each of us. By which I mean, we all have two arms and two legs, but the specific length of the muscles in those limbs may very. Injuries, scar tissue, and nutrition can all affect these factors as well.

You may not ever be able to do the splits. I can't. Either way. My hip joints don't allow for sufficient range of movement for me to spread my legs that far. For most people, the side splits are difficult or impossible without causing some injury to the hip joints and the pelvis.

If you want to accomplish them, you may be able to, but it may require serious tissue damage. You have to decide for yourself if that is worth it.


-Rob
 

Zero

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Bruno@MT:

Maybe get a book out or do some online research on increasing flexibility. I did TKD all through highschool so side splits became easy and second nature to me. I think I was reasonably flexible anyway as I remember quite a few even advanced TKD members never got to full splits, but I still think it took me more than 3 months, more like 5 or 6 months to a full split.

When you do your splits, once you are good and warm, focus on actually "pushing down" with your inner thigh muscles - don't just get to a maximum strecth and hold, you have to keep working the muscles and actively using them - keep the downward pressure on. This is hard for me to explain. Also when you have reached your maximum side splits (I imagine you are doing so with your feet soles on the ground) go up onto your heels in the stretch and keep in this position for a little bit - you should be able to eek out another inch or so in this different line of stretch. Then, easily/cautiously transfer back to where you soles are on the ground and you are still in strectch, you will have gained at least a half to an inch doing this.

I have not done TKD for a long time now and my goju ryu training, while it does include a lot of high kicks does not inculde the same time/focus on stretching as in TKD. It depends what you are aiming for with your stretching, although it is always great to have goals/mileposts. If you are interested primarily just in high kicks and the ability to execute head kicks and roundhouses without hurting yourself, then alongside your static strecthing you are doing, try dynamic streching and resistence stretching - I can't go into these right now as gotta get to work - but punch these terms into google/youtube, there is loads (some good, some crap) of stuff on the net to help yo on this. A lot of trainers and physios/sports doctors believe and have done so for some time, that dynamic and particularly resistence stretching is the optimum way of increasing flexibility.

Best
 
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Bruno@MT

Bruno@MT

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Bruno@MT:
When you do your splits, once you are good and warm, focus on actually "pushing down" with your inner thigh muscles - don't just get to a maximum strecth and hold, you have to keep working the muscles and actively using them - keep the downward pressure on. This is hard for me to explain.

Thanks!. You've just pointed out what I was doing :)
I think I understand what you mean.

Also when you have reached your maximum side splits (I imagine you are doing so with your feet soles on the ground) go up onto your heels in the stretch and keep in this position for a little bit - you should be able to eek out another inch or so in this different line of stretch. Then, easily/cautiously transfer back to where you soles are on the ground and you are still in strectch, you will have gained at least a half to an inch doing this.

thanks, I'll give it a try.

It depends what you are aiming for with your stretching, although it is always great to have goals/mileposts. If you are interested primarily just in high kicks and the ability to execute head kicks and roundhouses without hurting yourself, then alongside your static strecthing you are doing, try dynamic streching and resistence stretching - I can't go into these right now as gotta get to work - but punch these terms into google/youtube, there is loads (some good, some crap) of stuff on the net to help yo on this. A lot of trainers and physios/sports doctors believe and have done so for some time, that dynamic and particularly resistence stretching is the optimum way of increasing flexibility.

High kicking is not my biggest motivator.
I practise ninpo, and the curriculum covers a vast amount of rolls, jumps, breakfalls etc. side split flexibility comes in handy for certain evasions.

I am not going to make an issue of the last couple of inches to full side split, but I'd like to get close enough that I can execute all forms inside the comfortable stretching zone.
 

Zero

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Bruno@MT; High kicking is not my biggest motivator.
I practise ninpo, and the curriculum covers a vast amount of rolls, jumps, breakfalls etc. side split flexibility comes in handy for certain evasions.


Wow - ok - like Vann Dam in Blood Sport against the sumo??! - now I dig you!! Although kicking people in the head is almost as rewarding, so don't write that off completely!
 

clfsean

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I was flexible enough "back in the day" to do front splits without thinking. But the way my hips are put together, there was never a chance to do them. The ball & socket joint of my hip fit in such a way to not allow the 180 degree positioning.
 
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Bruno@MT

Bruno@MT

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Bruno@MT; High kicking is not my biggest motivator.
I practise ninpo, and the curriculum covers a vast amount of rolls, jumps, breakfalls etc. side split flexibility comes in handy for certain evasions.


Wow - ok - like Vann Dam in Blood Sport against the sumo??! - now I dig you!! Although kicking people in the head is almost as rewarding, so don't write that off completely!

Actually, there is one evasion (I forgot the name. only learned it last week) that looks like a spinning jump kick. It look cool, but my technique still sucks. This one requires some side split flexibility in order to perform a smooth kicking motion.

But yeah. Being able to kick someone in the head is nice too :D
 
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