Start with Ample Stretching
If you try to do the splits without stretching first, you could end up with an injury known as a groin pull. Groin pulls are when a gymnast does the splits and ends up stretching the inner leg, or adductor, muscles too far. Such injuries, according to eMedicine Sports Medicine experts, can cause excruciating inner thigh pain that travels down the leg. You can potentially avoid such calamities by using these gymnastic tips to do splits first.
Bent Knee Stretch
Begin with a ten to twelve inch platform in front of you and a mat beneath you. Bend one knee and place this foot on top of the platform. Extend your other leg behind you as far as it will go, and rest this knee on the floor. Keeping your torso straight, clasp both hands on top of the front knee and hold this pose for up to 60 seconds. Switch legs and repeat.
Front Leg Stretch
Start with a ten to twelve inch platform in front of you and a mat beneath you. Raise yourself up on one knee and extend your other leg, placing this foot on top of the platform. Roll forward and place both hands on the platform on each side of this foot. Allow your head to hang in the gap between your torso and floor. Hold this pose for up to 60 seconds, switch legs and repeat.
Working into a Front Split
Before you try to perform a full front split on your own, practice the splits with the help of some raised platforms.
Place one platform on each side of your body. These should be anywhere between six to twelve inches high. You can use two low springboards as your platforms, if you have these handy. Stretch one leg out in front of you and extend one leg behind you. Place one hand on each platform and lower yourself to the ground slowly. Your groin may not touch the mat at first. That’s okay, just stretch as far as you can without causing pain. Hold this stretch for about ten seconds and release.
Keep practicing the splits using the platforms until you are comfortable going all the way down to the floor without wobbling or hurting your adductor muscles.
Working into a Straddle Split
The straddle split, sometimes called side or center splits, may be more difficult than front splits for many gymnasts. Here are a few gymnastic tips to do splits that are specifically for straddling.
Begin by sitting on a mat or floor with both legs stretched out as far as possible on each side. Roll your spine down as you reach to the side, first toward one foot, and then the other. Each day you do this stretch, you should be able to stretch your legs wider apart.
The second stretch involves reaching over your leg like a ballerina. Lay one arm down on the floor in front of you, horizontally. Reach the other arm over your head and bend sideways toward one leg. Try to touch your foot with this hand. If you can’t make it all the way down on the first few tries, just go as far as possible without overextending your body.
These gymnastic tips to do splits will have you splitting in all directions within no time. But don’t rush things. If you don’t feel comfortable, keep stretching and training until you do.