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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Side splits


missy12784

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I can get my spits on my right and left leg pretty good and can still feel them "stretching" so I know I still have some work to do on those. But when I do a side or strattle split, my inner thighs feel really tight like they can't stretch anyfuther. My legs are at about 2 and 10 o'clock. And I feel really funny sitting in side splits like I'm sticking out my rear. How can I stretch out my inner thighs to make a full side split? :)

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I have that exact problem too! I told my teacher and she said that eventually by just sitting in them they'll get looser, but it doesn't feel like it.

 

p.s. wow mine are at 10 and 2 also, maybe this happens to everyone?

 

edit: oops, just kidding, I'm 16.....sorry. should I delete this?

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No, it's okay Kelly :)

 

Dancers, the middle splits are primarily based on rotation, not just stretch in the legs. However, if you work on them when you are well warmed up, over time you can increase the rotation, which is why you would do that stretch anyway. Don't forget, please, that splits are not a movement from the ballet vocabulary, but they are a stretch to help you achieve the movements. They are not an end in themselves, but a means to an end. So, the idea is to use them to stretch, and not worry about whether you can "do" them or not.

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Guest pointedancer518

I am 16 too so please delete this if you need to. A good stretch for your turnout (rotation) that will also help your straddle is to lay on your back on the floor and put your legs straight up at a ninety degree angle against a wall. Make sure that your bottom is against the wall and then open your legs to the side (a straddle). Do not worry about pointing your feet or rotating your legs, gravity will do the work for you. I do this is my hallway (the only wall in my house that is open) while reading a book or talking on the phone. I used to do this a lot and I noticed a big difference in my turnout.

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I don't mind if I get my spilts or not, I just wonder why it's tight right there and why it won't really stretch out.

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Because everyone is built differently, and some people have more or less flexibility in various areas of the body. Rotation is not a natural thing, and there are far more people who do not have a lot of it than who do. It can be increased, but it is a long, slow process. How much it can be increased is dependent upon the individual physique.

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I had the oportunity to see a therapist who had one of the devices that measures turnout. In ballet terms, i measured "Perfect" turn-out. Yet, I have a less than perfect middle split. How does ones turn-out directly or indirectly effect the degree of rotation in a middle split?

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Of course you can do a straddle split without turnout. Gymnasts do them all the time, especially on the balance beam. But they don't help with ballet technique when they're done that way.

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I've heard that certain body types are unable to achieve a perfect split (both forward and side splits). Is this true? If so, what body types might these be?

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Those with hypoextended hipjoints. You can't fight bone. Fortunately this is a very rare phenomenon.

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Thank you everyone who posted. I'll really try on what everybody said to full heart! :grinning:

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I'll add some ideas if allowed - moderators please delete if you think these ideas are inappropriate or dangerous (and please tell my why too, I'd be interested).

 

Once you're sitting with your legs as wide as possible, lie flat down between them. Keep your spine as straight as possible, and lie with your chest and tum to the floor. This will help rotation at the hips. When this is easy, on the way up, take up the slack in your leg muscles by gently easing your legs a little further apart with your hands. Do not do this if there is a strain on the inside of the knees.

 

Once you are nearer to the straight line, you can rock your hips forward a little when you are sitting straight up: this will rotate your legs forward too, and press them further apart.

 

Gently over long periods is the theme. Do not do it if there is ever a strain on the insides of the knees. You want to stretch muscles, and the only ligaments that must be stretched in this move are the ones deep within the front of the hip joint, sometimes called the Y-ligament. The knee ligaments must absolutely not be stretched at all.

 

However a bit of pulling feeling just in front of the inner edge of the kneecap is OK if it is mild and dispappears as soon as you stop stretching. This comes from tension on the tendon of the gracilis muscle and will stop once the muscle has stretched to match the others. You can often get rid of the sensation by holding onto your big toes, which rotates the legs in a little bit inwards and takes the strain off the muscle.

 

Jim.

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