Many gymnasts have trouble learning to do the splits. Flexibility is important in gymnastics as many skills are almost impossible to perform without being limber. Doing splits is easier for some people than others, so don’t be discouraged if it takes you a little longer to get them.
If you would like to achieve your front or straddle splits, or just improve on the ones you already have, try to make time to stretch every day. Begin each stretching session with easy and gentle stretches. Never stretch to the point of pain.
Right and Left leg Splits In gymnastics, a front split is named according to the leg that is extended in front. If the right leg is extended in front, the split is called a right leg split.
There are three components to splits; hip flexors, hamstrings and quads. Before getting started with any stretches you need to make sure you've warmed up first, you can follow one of our warmup videos if you like.
1. Kneeling lunge stretch
Begin by kneeling on one leg. Make sure your front knee doesn’t extend over the toe. Square your hips with your back knee flat on the floor. Hold your shoulders square, you can put your hands on the floor for balance if needed, or place then on your hips. Gently stretch your body forward, pushing your hips down into the stretch. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Swap legs and repeat.
2. Kneeling lunge stretch
For a deeper stretch grab the back leg with your right arm and pull it up as far as you can, heel towards your bottom. Repeat with both legs.
3. Reverse lunge stretch
From the kneeling lunge position, push your weight onto your back leg. With the front leg straight, lower your upper body onto your leg. Keep the front toe pointed, back leg flat on the floor. Use your hands for added support. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds, without bouncing.
4. From Reverse lunge stretch
Keeping your front leg straight sit back onto your bent leg. Keep your arms reaching forward. Hold this stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat on both legs.
5. Low lunge stretch
This lunge increases hip flexibility, it’s a bit deeper of a hip stretch, so take it easy. From a low lunge, bring both hands to the inside of your front foot. Keep your hands here. You can drop your elbows toward the floor for more intensity.
6. Single leg stretch
Lie on your back, raising one leg into the air. Grasp the lower portion of the elevated leg with both hands. Keeping your lower leg slightly bent, gently pull your leg toward your body. Keeping your toes pointing towards the sky, hold the stretch for 20 seconds. Repeat with toes pulled down towards your body, hold the stretch for 20 seconds.
7. Single leg stretch
Lie on your back, raising one leg into the air. Grasp the elevated leg with both hands. Keeping your lower leg slightly bent, gently pull your leg toward your body. Hold the stretch for 20 seconds
Coaches Katie and Izzie have made this video for beginner gymnasts to follow at home.
Gentle jog for 10 seconds
Gentle jog with high knees 10 seconds
5 jumping jacks
Skip on the spot 10 seconds
Hold each stretch for 10/15 seconds each
Reach for the ceiling and slowly reach for your toes keeping legs straight
Standing in a star shape and lower down and touch your hands on the floor keeping legs straight
Standing in a star shape place hands on hips and rotate hips 5 times one way and 5 times the other way
Onto your hands and knees into seal stretch and cat stretch
Sit into a straddle shape and reach your hands as far forward as you can
Try and do 10 of each exercise, and have a competition with your parents who can complete them all.
Press-ups if your struggling you can do them on your knees
Sit-ups keeping your arms crossed across your chest
Squat down and do a big stretch jump
Can you hold dish and roll into an arch shape without your head, hands and feet touching the floor?
Can you stand up and sit down without using your hands?
Remember all these exercises are for fun and to keep you active.
Make sure you hydrate throughout and make a personal learner diary, those activities not achieved make it a future goal!!
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