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The Splits - Can anyone do them/Is working towards them?

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One of my big goals is to do the side splits aka jazz splits (middle splits will be a goal for down the track!) - I want to get them by next month and I am fairly close already. Just thought I'd start a discussion board for people who can do them or want to achieve them? 


Would like to know thoughts on:


- Stretching routines 

- How you achieved them 

- Safety and injury (i.e. knees??? Over stretching?) 

- Alignment 

- Resources

- Anything else! 


Thanks smile.png

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I'm hypermobile, so I come from a flexible starting point but mostly I'm just doing yoga and work at pole dancing to help me work towards it. I used to be able to do the side splits but tilted my hips to cheat into them rather than doing them properly with the hips square.


Be really careful, though, and ideally find a progression for absolute beginners. It's very easy to pull muscles and even ligaments if you get too overenthusiastic.

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Oooh, do you have a stretch routine? When do you want to be able to do them by? It's okay - I am also of the inflexible variety but I really want to push past that! 

At this point I'm just doing basic stuff - toe touch, quads - and for the inner thigh I basically try to split-stand as far as I can while being able to comfortably hold it. But I really have no idea how to do a proper side split, I didn't even know it existed until I saw your post XD

I have no idea if I'm even physically capable of doing it. I saw a Dr. quoted in the NYT as saying flexibility is "to a large degree" genetic. I'll still try, but my expectations are low~

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I had all 3 splits a few months ago, then I pushed a little bit too far and tore up an old hamstring injury... Dealing with that sucks so my advice is to not set a date, but to focus on consistency and making slow and steady progress and make sure to work on active flexibility as well as passive flexibility. :) You asked about knees - do yours hyperextend? If they do it's worth spending some time to strengthen them, but stretching is not inherently dangerous for them as long as you're careful.


I got my splits through a combination of mainly long, loaded (usually partner assisted) passive stretches and weighted strength exercises for the hips, but there's different schools of thought so don't be afraid to experiment and see what your body responds best to. What are you doing now? It sounds like it's working so I'd say keep doing what you're doing, until it stops working. :)


A great resource is Kristina from Fit and Bendy, she's awesome and knows what she's talking about. There's some information on her blog and on youtube but unfortunately she doesn't have any free full routines. I've also heard really good things about GMB's focused flexibility program but haven't tried it myself (costs money). It might be worth checking out their blog and youtube channel, they share a lot of good stuff.


(As an aside, I read your intro post and I looove lindy hop! I haven't danced regularly in a while but had a period where I was completely obsessed. :) I hope you'll join the next 6-week challenge so I can follow along on your dancing adventures.)

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Splits are on my 'to work towards' list for the year (not made any progress yet but I'll get there!). The guide I'm going to use is get split by elle fit active, her instagram is full of people who have used this guide (and her other) and have made huge progress :) It's not free, its $16.95 CAD, or about £8, not sure what it is in USD.



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I'm way late here, but was wondering about the progress as well.  


If you would like a new stretch routine, I recommend the Kristina Nekyia Fit and Bendy series.  Get Bent has a splits section specifically.   She has a lot of videos on youtube that explain how to prevent injury and get the most out of stretches.  

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as a big guy that can do the splits my advice, just do it all the time and it gets easier




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I've always been super flexible. I've always been able to do the splits but if I don't do it often I tend to manage to lose a few inches over the months. I'm back at about 4 inches further from where I used to be and thus working on it again. :)

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Not passive splits, but I like doing a sort of weighted lunge variation where I'm in a really deep lunge with the front leg quite far in front on my knee and just straighten and bend the back leg while trying to not raise my hips, if that makes sense. I don't use as heavy weights as that guy though, I'd be afraid of toppling over!

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I currently have my left and right front splits, and I'm a few inches from the floor in my box/middle splits (which is weird because as a child it was the other way around...)


I got there with a mix of passive and PNF stretching.  Some of my favourites:

  • Pigeon stretch - the further forward your front shin is the more stretch you get.  You can use a partner or a sandbag to add weight to your hips and help keep you square
  • PNF stretching lying on your back and pulling one leg towards your face (easiest with a partner but you could do it with a theraband)
  • Low lunge (back knee on the ground) and sink your hips to the floor.  To increase this and change the stretch slightly you can get someone to sit on your hips and pull your ankle towards your bum.  To really work this one, twerk (clench and release your glutes) while you're in it!

I've never loaded mine with weight.  If I was in a full split and wanted more of a stretch I'd probably use a yoga block to go to oversplits rather than weight it.

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