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12 Creative Ways To Do The Splits

All poses are demonstrated by Sapphire Ng, guitarist, dancer, model and pioneer of Contortion Guitar.

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1. Bent Supporting Leg Side Tilt


Skills required

Middle Splits, Middle Splits Sidebend, Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold

How to get into the pose

From Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold, bend the supporting leg

With hand firmly holding onto the ankle of the top leg, tilt body sideways towards the side of the supporting leg

Ensure to maintain an open chest and look towards the direction of the top leg

Notes

Be sure to have a solid Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold before attempting this pose

If it is challenging to balance in this pose, start by practising with a supporting hand on the wall

Sufficient flexibility in the middle splits and in the sidebending and openness of the torso and chest will allow the chest to continue to stay open when leaning into the pose

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2. Bent Supporting Leg Standing Scorpion


Skills required

Front Splits, Standing Scorpion, Wheel Pose

How to get into the pose

From standing, reach left arm outwards from the front to the side and to the back with palm facing up (and vice versa)

Grab left foot with left hand and rotate left arm to bring elbow to face the front

Grab left foot also with right hand

Bend supporting leg and pull top foot as much as possible towards the head to align legs into bent-legs front splits

Notes

As long as all prerequisite skills are met, there should not be any difficulty executing this pose

Bent Top Leg Side Tilt

3. Bent Top Leg Side Tilt


Skills required

Butterfly Pose Frontbend, Half Pigeon Pose, Middle Splits, Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold

How to get into the pose

From Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold, hook elbow of same side arm under knee of the top leg, and slightly bend the leg

Lean torso sideways towards the direction of the supporting leg, keeping the knee of the top leg as close as possible to the head, and further extending and stretching the top leg accordingly

If possible, remove the arm supporting the top leg, and engage active flexibility muscles to hold the leg up

Notes

Being able to do box oversplits or middle oversplits make this pose simpler to execute

If flexibility is a limitation, when leaning the torso sideways the bent top leg can be brought towards the front of the torso instead of being maintained square to the side of the torso, in order to transform a box split into a straddle split

Use wall support if needed to help with balance and leg extension

Side Lunge Middle Splits, A La Seconde Developpe

4. Side Lunge Middle Splits


Skills required

Middle Splits, Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold, Side Leg Kicks, Side Leg Holds

How to get into the pose

From Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold, bend supporting leg as if going into a side lunge

Let go of any hand grabbing the top leg, and hold the leg up with active flexibility

Notes

Active flexibility is important for this pose

Side Leg Kicks and Side Leg Holds help build range of motion and strength for this pose

Build strength and stability of the supporting leg with conditioning exercises, squats and other standing balance poses

Forward Lunge Front Splits Arabesque

5. Forward Lunge Front Splits


Skills required

Dancer’s Pose, Front Splits, Standing Front Splits Leg Hold, Back Leg Kicks, Arabesque

How to get into the pose

From Dancer’s Pose, bend the supporting leg while maintaining the arm grabbing the top leg

Let go of the arm grabbing the top leg, and hold the leg up with active flexibility

Notes

Active flexibility is important for this pose

The Arabesque pose would give the feel of how holding the leg up would be in this pose

If the Arabesque pose is too difficult, Back Leg Kicks would be helpful in bringing the leg to the required range of motion for this pose

Build strength and stability of the supporting leg with conditioning exercises, squats and other standing balance poses

6. Front Penche Hollowback


Skills required

Front Splits, Front Splits Frontbend, Pike Standing Frontbend, Front Penche

How to get into the pose

From standing, lean torso forwards towards the supporting leg, reach hands to the ground and lift the other leg off the ground into front splits

With hands shoulder width apart on the ground in front of the supporting leg, push hands and arms against the ground to compress the torso against the supporting leg

Push and compress further, and tilt the head forwards to look at the top foot

Continue pushing and compressing until the front splits tilt diagonally and the torso faces the sky diagonally

Notes

To fix problems with leg alignment in the front penche, first practice it against the wall

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7. Side Penche


Skills required

Middle Splits, Middle Splits Sidebend, Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold

How to get into the pose

From standing, lean torso sideways towards the supporting leg, reach hands to the ground and lift the other leg off the ground

Align the top leg into middle splits and point the toes

Compress torso as much as possible against the supporting leg

Lift one supporting hand off the ground

If possible, lift the other supporting hand off the ground

Notes

Be sure to check alignment of the legs in the middle splits when upside down

Remember to open the torso and chest against the supporting leg on the side of the torso

Middle Splits Side Tilt

8. Middle Splits Side Tilt


Skills required

Middle Splits, Middle Splits Sidebend, Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold

How to get into the pose

From Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold, same side hand holds top leg and place other hand on the upper leg of the supporting leg

Lean torso sideways to a horizontal plane towards the side of the supporting leg, if possible

Maintaining the balance and in a controlled manner, gradually remove the hand supporting the top leg, and engage active flexibility muscles to hold the leg up

Tighten the muscles of the supporting leg, and lift the remaining hand off the supporting leg if possible

Notes

For help with balance, practice the pose with one-handed or two-handed wall support

Front Splits Backward Tilt

9. Front Splits Backward Tilt


Skills required

Front Splits, Standing Front Splits Leg Hold, Cobra Pose

How to get into the pose

From Standing Front Splits Leg Hold, place same side hand on the hamstrings of the supporting leg

Tilt torso backwards, walk the hand down the supporting leg and open the chest

Notes

Make full use of the bottom / supporting arm to help balance and stabilization by forming a support by pushing against the supporting leg

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10. Front Splits Forward Tilt


Skills required

Front Splits, Dancer’s Pose

How to get into the pose

From standing, same side hand grab back foot / ankle / lower leg from the inside

Place the other hand on the thigh of the supporting leg, maintain the support, and extend the back leg as straight as possible

Lower the bottom hand below the knee of the supporting leg if possible, and lift from the palm to the fingers

Look straight ahead

Notes

Make full use of the bottom / supporting arm to help balance and stabilization by forming a support by pushing against the supporting leg

Supported Front Penche Back Leg Grab

11. Supported Front Penche Back Leg Grab


Skills required

Front Splits, Standing Scorpion, Wheel Pose, Supported Front Penche

How to get into the pose

Method 1

From Standing Pike Frontbend, lift one leg off the ground above the head and bend the knee

Lift same side hand off the ground and grab the back foot, rotating the elbow back to the front

With the supporting hand on the ground, the hand grabbing the foot of the back leg pulls the leg into the front splits line if needed

Reach the torso outwards and upwards as much as possible

Method 2

From Standing Scorpion, same side hand stays grabbing the ankle of back leg

Leaning torso forwards, the other hand reaches towards the ground in front of the supporting leg

With the supporting hand on the ground, the hand grabbing the ankle or foot of the back leg pulls the leg into the front splits line if needed

Reach the torso outwards and upwards as much as possible

Notes

If you are struggling with balance, place the full palm of the supporting arm on the ground and grab the floor with your fingers

Leaning Sidebend Leg Hold Pose

12. Leaning Sidebend Leg Hold Pose


Skills required

Sidebend, Middle Splits, Middle Splits Sidebend, Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold

How to get into the pose

From standing, grab heel of foot with same side hand

Straighten leg into middle splits

Reach other arm behind the head to grab the foot, ankle or leg and pull leg as much as possible towards the head or behind the head/shoulders

Same side hand lets go of heel

With the torso of the body tightly adjacent to the top leg, start leaning both torso and top leg towards the direction of the leg, making sure to maintain an open chest

Maintain a strong and solid supporting leg at all times

Notes

Make sure to be confident with Standing Middle Splits Leg Hold before attempting this pose

This pose gives an intense sidebend stretch, so be sure to warm up accordingly beforehand

Lean from the hips instead of just bending the upper body to the side

If this pose is too difficult, practice it with a supporting hand on the wall


Sapphire Ng

Sapphire Ng is a guitarist, dancer, model and pioneer of Contortion Guitar, an original and distinctive performance act which unites acrobatics and contortion with guitar playing.

She is also a 2-time scholarship winner, having graduated with a second class honours with upper division for her Bachelor of Laws, Law LLB at Queen Mary University of London in the UK, and also with a Summa Cum Laude for her Bachelor of Music in Music Business and Management degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, USA.

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