Side split: a few tricks

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.

Important precautions:

  • 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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