How to do the splits
In the previous article (read The easiest method to do the side split) we have described the most simple and effective way to make a good side split. Let us now define the final details of the exercise.
- Especially the first few times let’s break the tension by closing the legs 3-8 times per session
- To stop the split let’s grab a knee at a time and slowly bring the leg into a rest position (crossed legs)
- This tension interruption is a check, let’s ask if it’s time to insist, to stop or to postpone (exaggerating slows down our work, it does not speed it up)
- If we feel pain, tingling, or other discomforts, let’s immediately interrupt the exercise (we must feel a tension not pain)
- In general (but especially for those over 12 years) to arrive always to the point of pain is wrong and dangerous
- If we experience pain even after interrupting the tension we have to suspend the exercise and seek medical advice
- We need to learn to listen and understand when we are over our rationals limits (let’s never underestimate the signals that the body sends us)
Some useful tips, tricks and concepts:
- It is not strange to need a year (or more) to reach the 180°, we did not have to rush
- Not panic if certain days we will open less our legs, it is absolutely normal
- To help the elongation we can check with our hands what are the most tensed parts and massage them lightly along their entire length
- In terms of nutrition, it is better to opt for white meat rather than red meat
- Let’s try to keep our body always well hydrated (as we have already said we have to drink a lot)
- In our meals, we have to abound with vegetables and raw fruits (fresh and seasonal, read Qi and proper nutrition)
- As we improve we have to combine to the exercise also the classic / normal split (both with feet parallel, both perpendicular to the ground)
Side split: advanced level
How to exceed the 180° split:
- First of all, we have to stress that we adding details to the exercise described in the article “The easiest method to do the side split” (this is not a normal side split but it is against a wall)
- We can say we have reached the 180° when the legs (buttocks, etc.) completely touch the ground and when, during a normal side split on the ground, we can release our entire weight without problems
- Once reached (let’s do not go ahead if we are not sure), to pass the 180° let’s start to put pillows under our buttocks (gradually increasing the thickness)
- When we feel sure we can perform the exercises with a full open-close movement (extremely slow and controlled); from the ground (the split) to the vertical touching-parallel legs (this will make our muscle strong enough to allow high-level flexibility performances even in the worst combat situations)
- Finally (this is optional), we can also position some not-heavy weights on our ankles (proportionally to our muscles’ resistance, let’s do not be stupid, we risk to damage our legs)
Side split: final notes
- A big part of what we have said for the side split is valid also for the other ones (frontal split, etc.)
- Doing the splits before starting a 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s training session helps much the mobility but only after the warm-up and, absolutely, without forcing the execution in any way (read How to correctly perform stretching)
- After a session of 6DKF, the body is (normally, not automatically) warm / elastic and the splits are more easy to perform; the risk of damage decreases significantly and it is possible to positively work with the real elongation
- Once acquired, the split must be kept trained (at least every 3 days)
Later we will talk about power stretching, the other splits and other types of body flexibility.
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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