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 Post subject: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2001 7:18 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 02, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 139
Location: USA
Hey all again! I have another question regarding splits, we do these in ballet, the straddle one most, that's where your feets are out to the side I think that's right? well I don't have a very good split, and espeically the ones where one foot is in front of the other.. soooo anyone have any advice on how I can improve my splits? like stretches or exercises I can do? Thanks all!!!<P>Jan<P>------------------<BR>Teaching Today Touches Tomorrow!<BR>

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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2001 8:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2001 12:01 am
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Location: Washington St.
We always made our splits better by practicing them. I know that's not a terribly enlightening answer. We would hold ourselves up and press gently as far as we could comfortably go, then hold for at least a minute. Or we would sit on the floor, put the front leg straight out in front of us and put the back leg behind us, bent at the knee. Then we would slowly straighten that back leg as far as it would go. Also, if one leg is less flexible, practice that one more. It is really tempting to spend more time stretching the side that is easier -- but then you become really lopsided. When called upon to show off my flexibility, I always used the same side as a demonstration, giving it the extra practice that my stiffer side really could have used. <P>For side splits I've been shown to lay on the floor on my back with my legs up at a ninety degree angle against a wall. Start with them both pointing straight up and then slowly lower them to the sides and stay there for awhile, just letting gravity do the work. Then you can read a book or something while you stretch. One girl said she fell asleep in this position. Then her mom came along and pushed her legs back up abruptly: not a pretty picture! Kids, don't try this at home!<P>And always make sure you are thoroughly warmed up when working on the splits! Don't be like me and pull muscles while doing them when you are cold. After class is a good time to practice them, because you are still very warm. <P>Please, moderators, tell me if any of these ideas are dangerous and not recommended. Thank you. Image<p>[This message has been edited by katheryn (edited May 16, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2001 11:06 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
What Katheryn said about warming up first is an absolute must - think of your muscles like an elastic band when warm an elastic band will stretch and come back to its' original length, when cold it will stretch and snap (try sticking it in the fridge overnight and see what I mean.)<P>Gravity also does help - but I wouldn't recommend staying in a stretch for too long, stsying in any position for too long will cause you too stiffen and even most developmental stretches are only ever held for around 30 seconds.<P>There is a lot of debate as to how long to hold stretches for but that is my opinion anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2001 5:41 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
I agree with both the posts above - always be well warmed up...relax into the stretch. I would certainly not hold any stretch too long. A stretch should be a gentle thing - nothing extreme.<P>Another thing you can do to improve your splits both front and back and side splits, it with your grand battement. Everytime you kick, hold your alignment, hold the standing leg steady, and then do the kick. This will also stretch you.<P>The ballet barre is not only a warmup and a strengthener it is also a stretch. People tend to think of ballet class in parts...barre....center....stretch. But actually it is all one piece. Each exercise at the barre is not only a strengther, a warming, but also a stretch.<P>Think about it that way next class, and I think you will find all kinds of places in the barre exercises in which to stretch.<P>You might want to read the thread - all the way through the thread on Stretch and Strength in which much of this was discussed- you can do a search for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2001 6:09 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
Tips for splits...<BR>-stretch EVERY day<BR>-only stretch when really warm and sweaty<BR>-for split leaps, sit on floor facing wall. With legs open and feet against wall, slowly slide body closer to wall, going in as far as you can comfortably go. Stay there for at least a couple of minutes.<BR>-DON'T let anyone else stretch you, except teacher. It takes a lot of sensitivity and care.<BR>-avoid bouncing or ballistic stretches<BR>YOu shouldn't feel any pain in your knees when you do this stretch. If you do, bend your knees slightly and/or pull back away from the wall a little bit.<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited May 17, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2001 8:49 am 
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Location: Basking Ridge, New Jersey, USA
There's lots of great advice offered in this thread! One thing that seems to help my students with front-back splits is to do half splits first, with the back leg not turned out, so they can feel the squareness of that position. <P>When doing full splits, I advise my students to use their hands and arms to support their weight and help them balance. Then the leg muscles can concentrate on relaxing. I tell them to think of one person at each of their feet, pulling their feet at the same time (this is an image only; as stated previously, no one should push or pull you in a stretch). Or I have students hang onto the barre and lower themselves into a split underneath the barre. Of course, that only works for front-back splits if your barre is not against the wall!... And if it's a portable, you need to be sure it is very stable before attempting this.


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2001 6:17 pm 
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Location: USA
thanks all for the great advice! also waht are the names of the splits? I have heard of straddle and that is what I learned where the legs point out to the sides, and I learned that side splits were where one leg wasa in front and one in back, so what are the real names? or names that you all know them by?<P>Thanks again for the great advice!<BR>Jan<P>------------------<BR>Teaching Today Touches Tomorrow!<BR>

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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2001 6:25 pm 
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Well, Miss Jan, as far as I know we generally don't use French names for them in ballet class - I guess in France they do, though - ha ha .<P> I call the ones where the legs go to the front and back - guess what? front and back splits! And the one that the legs go to the sides? guess what? side splits!!<P>That way my brain keeps track of it.<P>Right front/back split (right leg is in front)<P>Left front/back split (left leg is in front)<P>Side split.<P>Let's hope no one comes up with more varieties of splits.<P>oh wait there is a banana split......<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited May 17, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2001 8:59 pm 
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Location: the Netherlands
Wasn't the french name grand écart? We always say spagate in class for front/back and égarde for middle.

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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Fri May 18, 2001 3:32 am 
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Location: Winthrop, Maine
Waaaaayyyyyyy back in high school in a gymnastics segment of phys ed class, we learned to call the side split a Chinese split, and the front back one a Russian split. So that is how I have always thought of them.<P>Last year I came across a web site when I was researching physical therapy techniques due to torn soleus and gastrocnemus (sp?) muscles. It was devoted to stretching and had some great information specifically on achieving/improving splits. It may take me a day or two to find the printout I made and post the site, but I will look for you. There was a lot of information on the physiology of muscle tissue, how stretching occurs on a molecular level, and the different theories, pros, and cons of different techniques, amount of time to hold stretches, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Wed Jun 13, 2001 12:37 pm 
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Location: Calgary, AB,Canada
We calll the front/back splits by whichever foot is forward....if you right foot is in front, it is your right split, and if you left foot is in front, we call it our left split. for the one with yoru legs out to the sides, we call it the center split because you are sitting in the centre.


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2001 1:58 am 
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Location: Paris, France(but i'm from Cyprus)
At my dance school we also do the front split and then take our hands off the floor and put them behind our head. It REALLY hurts and we only do it when we are veryyy warm. But it helps a lot because your own weight is pushing you down. Oh, I wanted to ask this: Do you do the middle split with the knees facing the ceiling or them facing at the front? I can't do the middle split and I would like to improve it but I don't know which way is the correct way. Bu trying both ways though, I found that when my knees are turned at the front I feel a lot of pressure on them and sometimes it hurts. Is this wrong?


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2001 5:00 am 
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Location: San Diego, California, USA
Annie - in my opinion, the middle split should be done just as you would do second position - the hips/knees/feet are turned out as best you can. The knees would not be turned inward. If you were to draw a smiley face on the knees they would be looking up to the ceiling.<P>And, of course, you should always be thoroughly warmed up for any stretching - especially splits. And relax into it.<P>Pressure and pain - are not good - they are signals to stop. Talk to your teacher about this and see what she says.<BR><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited June 14, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2001 5:09 am 
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Joined: Sat May 26, 2001 11:01 pm
Posts: 69
Location: Singapore
okay...i've been wondering, how exactly do you warm up? i mean, the last time i went on a flexibility marathon, i stretched but my legs ended up aching for two days. does that mean that i didn't stretch properly? any suggestions on how to? and how do you know you're warmed up? oh, and i can left split (front/back split, as some of you call it), but my hips aren't square. does it still count? how do i get them square? aaaand...when i split left and then turn to split horizontal, i can almost do it, but when i try to do the horizontal split, i cna't split as wide as i can when i turn. does that mean that the first split (when i split left and then turn [my legs don't turn in when i do that--or at least, i try not to]) isn't proper? or...?<BR>sorry for all the questions and the confusing explanation.<BR>oh, and annie, when you say facing the front does that mean they're sort of turned in? i think that's wrong and yes, it hurts when i do that.<BR>oh (sorry), and would lying down on the floor and pushing your feet against the wall be an appropriate way to try to do the horizontal split?


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 Post subject: Re: Splits...help needed!
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2001 8:50 am 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Pearl your post seemed to appear twice so I have deleted one of them - hope that is OK.<P>What is warming-up - warming up is preparing mind and body for a workout of any description. It should gradually increase your heart-rate, get the blood circulating round your body, get oxygen into the lungs and lubricate and loosen the joints. I would recommend starting with some breathing exercises, some pulse-raiser movements like some marching or a briskish walk, then some exercises that work on isolated areas - loosening them i.e. for shoulders some shrugs or circles, ankle, some circles or gentle shakes. Then and only then should you stretch - muscles should never be stretched until they have been warmed up as described above.<BR>


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