Is A Front Split Easier Than A Side Split? The Truth Explained

Being able to easily do the splits on a regular basis is seen as evidence of real flexibility!

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If you want to master the splits but have never done one before, you might be wondering that the difference even is between a side split and a front split and which one is easier.

Is A Front Split Easier Than A Side Split The Truth Explained

Well, our article has the answers! Not only will you learn what muscles you need to stretch in order to do a split, but 18 of the best yoga poses that can help you build to a split pose. Let’s get started!

The 3 Kinds Of Splits

There are three kinds of splits that can be achieved with practice and plenty of stretching!

True Front Split

You can achieve a True Front Split (or Square split) by sitting with your legs straight, pointing in opposite directions, while your hips stay square.

This engages your core. Keep your back in a neutral position with your ankle and knee of your back leg pointed straight towards the ground. 

Preparing for true front splits requires you to have good hip flexor mobility so you can actively draw your hips down and keep alignment in your hips. 

Gymnasts and dancers often practice this variation, as they need optimal flexibility in their hips to create lines and shapes with their body.

Open Front Split

Also known as the Turned Out split, the Open Front Split is probably the easiest of these three splits. 

Your hips are open rather than squared for this variation and your back leg is turned out to the side. Having your back leg rotated eternally outwards gives your leg a better range of motion.

Martial artists often practice this variation who want to achieve higher kicks. Dances often practice this stretch too in order to create elongated shapes.

Side Or Middle Split

Also known as the Straddle Split or Middle Split, you can achieve the Side Split by sliding your legs out as far as possible on both sides of your body. A full side split involves getting your inner thighs flat to the floor. 

To deepen this stretch, try to keep your back straight as you walk your hands forward. In order to achieve a side split you will need to stretch your inner thighs in order to strengthen them. 

Other versions of the split include the oversplit, the standing front split, the standing side oversplit, and the wall split. 

So Which Split Is Easier?

As you need to engage fewer muscles when doing a side split, it is often considered easier than a front split. Still, some people do find the front split easier.

Popular stretches such as hamstring stretches and lunges engage your muscles for the front splits. Meanwhile, the side split does require you to engage muscles we rarely stretch like your groin and inner thigh.

So while the side split is simpler to achieve, the muscles stretched when doing the front splits are more commonly stretched when exercising. 

What Are The Advantages Of Splits?

Practicing the splits comes with many benefits for your body. Let’s take a look at what they are. 

  • Splits improve your joint health and strengthens your joints. 
  • It often improves your flexibility and encourages the conditioning and strengthening of your core. 
  • Splits improve your strength and balance that tends to decrease with age.
  • Splits boost your body’s range of motion.
  • Splits are also believed to prevent cardiovascular and Parkinson’s disease, as it boosts muscle strength, and improves your blood circulation and motor control.
  • Splits also improve your stamina.
  • Splits deeply stretch the muscles in your thighs and open your hip flexors.
  • Splits help to develop perseverance and patience in your practice and deepens your body awareness.

Can Anyone Do A Split?

While anybody can achieve most yoga poses, full splits may not be possible for some. Although rigid hips and tight hamstrings may be the obstacles to achieving the splits, these obstacles can be overcome with regularly stretching.

However, there are some obstacles that can’t be overcome and that’s okay! As beneficial as the splits are, forcing yourself into the splits does more harm in the long run.

You can see if your body is capable of the splits with this easy exercise:

  • Find a fence, tabletop, or wall that is the same height as your hips.
  • Stand adjacent to the fence or table with your feet facing forward (parallel to the surface). 
  • Raise your one leg, keeping your knee straight and placing your foot on top of the surface.
  • Point your toes up.
  • Check if your legs create a 90-degree angle. 

If they do, then with enough training, you should be able to do a split! If your legs are unable to make a 90-degree angle then your hip bones may be at a different angle that won’t let you do the splits.

The splits are an intense pose for the back, hips, groin, and legs. While flexibility is important, other factors need to be taken into account too.

Regardless of your flexibility level or bone structure, doing stretching for the splits is helpful to everyone.

Who Should Avoid The Splits?

  • People who have suffered a back injury.
  • People who have suffered a hip injury or undergone a hip replacement.
  • People who have arthritis or other joint issues.
  • People who have slipped discs or herniated discs.
  • People who have muscle tears, particularly in your hamstring or groin.
  • People who have pelvic dislocation.
  • People who have issues with their hamstrings.

So while most people can perform the splits, not everyone can. If you have suffered the above injuries then that will have an impact on your flexibility. However, yoga poses that open your hips can help you reap the rewards of better hip flexibility.

Split Exercises: The Dos & Don’ts

The dos of practicing the splits:

Mobilize all of your joints before you attempt a split. Dynamic and easy mobility exercises are advised for about 10–15 minutes before the session. This will help you achieve a full range of motion.

Concentrate more on ‘problem’ areas. Focusing on muscle groups and carrying out a few more sets, and maintaining the stretches for a bit longer will give you great results. 

Breathing exercises are also the key to achieving a split effectively and quickly. 

Now, let’s take a look at the don’ts of practicing the splits:

Don’t completely dismiss stretching. Try to practice by slightly pushing your body to its full flexibility. It’s important to prioritize this as flexibility and strength are the key to achieving splits. 

Don’t push past your pain point! We’ve all heard the saying ‘no pain, no gain,’ but this is not the case with stretching.

Even mild discomfort can damage your body and lead to injuries in the tendons and ligaments that can take a while to heal. You should warm up with two simple stretches before a split session. 

Don’t perform stretches where you stand still before a strength training session. While static stretching is good, it’s not ideal before strength training. Rather, we recommend doing static stretches after you’ve attempted stretching. 

What Muscles Do You Use In A Split?

Each split variation will require to to activate different muscle groups in your hamstrings, hips, and quads. So mastering one kind of split variation doesn’t automatically make other kinds of splits easier to do.

Still, knowing what muscles you need to engage when performing a split can help you achieve results quicker.

Side Splits

Stretching for a side split involves stretching 4 adductor muscles, 1 hip flexor and the medial hamstrings. This adds up to 5 stretches in order to focus on these muscles.

Front Splits

If you want to achieve a front split, you will need to stretch muscles on both sides of your front and back leg.

For your back leg, there are 6 hip flexors and 4 adductor muscles. You need to stretch the medial and lateral hamstrings in the front leg, head of adductor magnus, glutes, and piriformis

You will need to stretch 8 muscles in the back leg and 6 other muscles in the front leg. This means you would need to do more than 12 stretching exercises on just one side of your body to achieve the front splits.

What Does It Mean To ‘Square Your Hips?’

For the best results when stretching, it’s good to know what it means when you see or hear the phrase ‘keep your hips square.’

When your hips are square, both of your hips and your pubic bone are aligned, and your shoulders and hips are both facing forward.

If you’re unsure if your hips are square, just put your hands on your hips! If your hands are aligned (it might be helpful to imagine holding on a steering wheel), then your hips are square. However, if one hand is in front of the other, then this means your hips are open

How To Stretch With Square Hips

When stretching for the splits, you should always begin with a good-warm up and, of course, keep your hips square! This makes sure that you are engaging and stretching your muscles on both sides of your body.

When your joints are aligned correctly, this also makes it safer for you to perform and then come out of deep stretches.

Meanwhile, practicing with open hips means your weight will be unevenly distributed and makes your risk of injury greater when stretching.

18 Yoga Poses That Help You Get To A Full-Splits Pose

Known as Hanumanasana or the Monkey Pose, a full-splits pose in yoga is definitely challenging. You need flexibility in your glutes, hamstrings, hips, and quads.

However, this doesn’t mean this pose is impossible! Especially when you practice with yoga poses that help you get there, like the 18 we’ve outlined below. 

Since we spend most of our days sitting down, our hamstrings are often tight. This can lead to tight hamstrings and pain in your lower back. How flexible your hamstrings are will play a massive role in achieving a full-splits pose.

For most of the stretches below, a yoga strap or yoga block can help to make these poses more comfortable. This will allow you to gradually build flexibility in the areas you’re stretching. 

Make sure you take it easy with each of these poses, as they deeply stretch areas of your body that are often tight. Forcing your body into these poses before you are totally ready just elevates your risk of injury.

If you are experiencing pain in your joints, or where your muscle meets the bones (such as the hips, knees, and sit bones) then hold off on doing the pose for a while or come out of it totally until the pain has subsided. 

The below yoga poses on stretching and improving flexibility in the glutes, hamstrings, hips, and quads. Regularly practice these poses so you can achieve a full-splits pose!

1. Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana)

This pose gradually boosts your flexibility in the hamstrings. A simple way to modify and help you achieve length safely is to sit on a folded blanket to lift your hips. 

Step 1: Sit with both legs stretched out in front of you with your feet flexed.

Step 2: Take a breath in and elongate your spine.

Step 3: Breathe out, bend your hips to fold your torso over your legs, and softly grasp whatever you can reach (i.e. your ankles, feet, quads, or shins). 

Step 4: Maintain length in your spine and take 5-7 deep breaths. 

2. Low Lunge (Anjaneyasana)

This pose improves flexibility in your hips, encourages extension and flexion of the hips, which are both essential to achieving a full-splits pose. 

Step 1: From Downward Facing Dog, step your right foot in the middle of your hands and make sure your right ankle is directly below your right knee. 

Step 2: Place your left knee on the mat and uncurl your toes.

Step 3: Keep your hands on either side of your right foot.

Step 4: Maintain for 5-7 deep breaths on each side.

3. Lizard Lunge

Like a Low Lunge, this pose boosts hip flexibility. It is a marginally deeper hip stretch, so remember to take it slow and incorporate blocks if needed.

Step 1: From a Low Lunge, bring both hands to your inner front foot, walking it out to the long edge of your mat.

Step 2: Keep your hands there, bringing them to a block for extra comfort and security. You can also bring your elbows to the mat for a more intense stretch.

Step 3: Maintain for 5–7 breaths on each side. 

4. Half Split Pose

Half Split Pose is a great stretch on your hamstring, and also helps you stretch your calf. It’s also an amazing place to start for achieving a full-splits pose. 

Step 1: From your Low Lunge, shift your weight back, straightening your front leg and flexing your front foot.

Step 2: You can stay here or fold your torso for extra intensity.

Step 3: Maintain for 5-7 breaths one each side. 

5. Reclining Hand-To-Big-Toe Pose (Supta Padangusthasana)

If your hamstrings are particularly tight, then this stretch can help! To make this pose easier, use a yoga strap. This will also help you avoid injury. 

Step 1: Lie on your back and bring your right knee to your chest. If you’re using a yoga strop, loop the strap around the ball of your foot.

Step 2: Carefully straight your right leg to the sky with both of your feet flexed. 

Step 3: Keep a gentle bend in your right knee for a more comfortable stretch.

Step 4: Maintain for 5-7 breaths on each side. 

6. Reclining Quad Stretch (Supta Matsyendrasana Variation)

This is a unique pose that is also an intense stretch for your quads! Quads tend to be very tight and stretching them can be rather uncomfortable.

If you’re ever in pain, ease up on the stretch. It’s essential to have flexible quads if you want to achieve full-splits.

Step 1: Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest.

Step 2: Clutch the top of your left foot (or ankle) with your right hand, and lower your left leg to the mat.

Step 3: Hold your right shin in your left hand and hug it to your chest.

Step 4: To protect your lower back, keep your core engaged.

Step 5: Maintain for 5–7 breaths on each side. 

7. Reclined Pigeon Pose

This pose helps to boost flexibility in your hamstrings, hips, and glutes, which will help you strengthen the muscles in your front leg. 

Step 1: Lie on your back with your feet close to your glutes on your mat and your knees facing the sky.

Step 2: Fold your right ankle just below your left knee.

Step 3: For extra intensity, reach behind your left hamstring and bring your legs closer to your chest.

Step 4: Maintain for 5–7 breaths on each side. 

8. Happy Baby

Happy Baby is a pose that boosts your hamstring flexibility and is great for deep hip flexion. If you’re struggling to reach your feet, you can grasp your hamstrings or ankles, and still feel the benefits of this stretch.

Step 1: Lie on your back and bring your knees to your chest.

Step 2: Hold the pinky toe sides of both your feet, then bring your knees closer to your armpits and your feet towards the ceiling.

Step 3: Maintain for 5–7 breaths on each side.

9. Standing Forward Fold (Uttanasana) With Optional Block

This traditional calf stretch is the ideal way to open up your hamstrings and relieve tension in your lower back. If you can’t touch your toes, that’s no problem! A yoga block or yoga strap can help you close the gap between your hands and the floor.

Step 1: Start in Mountain Pose with your feet hip width apart. 

Step 2: Breathe in and bring your hands up.

Step 3: Breathe out and swan dive downward, bending at the hips.

Step 4: Keep your quads and abs engaged as you fold forward over your legs.

Step 5: Let your head hang down, keeping your neck loose.

Step 6: Bring your hands to the floor, or grip behind your ankles or calves.

Step 7: Inhale upwards to create a flat back.

Step 8: Exhale back down, attempting to push your glutes to the ceiling and bring your chest closer to your thighs. Or, you can put blocks under your toes to deepen the stretch in the back of your legs. 

10. Standing Wide Legged Forward Fold Pose (Prasarita Padottanasana)

Folding forward with your legs spread wide is very important for achieving middle splits, while also opening your hip flexors and hamstrings for standard splits as well.

Not only that, but this pose opens up your inner thighs too, releasing the lower back and relaxing your mind.

Step 1: Following on from mountain pose, step your feet out toward the sides of the mat, about 3 feet apart. 

Step 2: Breathe in and lift through your torso.

Step 3: Put your hands on your hips as you engage your core, breathe out and bend forward. Remember, don’t let your spine round or curve. 

Step 4: Rest your hands flat on the floor. For extra length, you can also rest your hands on top of yoga blocks. 

Step 5: Fold your torso down between your legs and release your neck downward.

Step 6: Alter your stance closer or wider, using your outer feet to root you to the ground.

Step 7: Engage your inner thigh muscles and extend your spine with your glutes reaching up toward the sky as you sink deeper. 

Step 8: Once 30–60 seconds have passed, return your hands to your hips, slightly bend your knees and breathe in to lift back to standing with your core engaged. 

11. Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

One of the most famous poses in yoga, Downward Facing Dog is the greatest way to extend your hamstrings and engage your pelvis to get you ready for the splits.

The gentle inversion boosts blood flow and helps to clear your mind. Add some motion to the pose by ‘walking the dog’ or pedaling your legs. 

Step 1: From a Forward Fold, step your feet back one at a time so your body is in an upside down ‘V’ shape.

Step 2: Press your heels towards the floor as you lift your sit bones to the sky.

Step 3: Press your index fingers into the floor as you roll your shoulder blades down toward the middle of your back.

Step 4: Let your neck relax between your shoulders.

Step 5: Relax slightly on every inhale, and press back to deepen the pose as you exhale. 

12. Pyramid Pose (Parvsottanasana)

To continue lengthening the hamstrings as you prepare to do your splits, this pose requires you to fold over your front leg as you stretch your hips, and is a real test of your balance!

Step 1: From a Low Lunge, straighten out your front leg with your toes facing forward.

Step 2: As you breathe in, stand up straight with your arms lifted overhead and your palms facing inward.

Step 3: Drop your heel and adjust your back foot to face at a 45-degree angle, like you’re in a Warrior Pose.

Step 4: As you breathe in, square your hips forward and lengthen your spine.

Step 5: As you breathe out, bend over your front leg, bringing your nose to your knee.

Step 6: Lower your forehead to your shin and feel your navel engage closer to your spine.

Step 7: Let your front hamstring stretch as the knee pushes backwards. However, be careful not to lock your knee! You can also put blocks under your hands to make the stretch more comfortable and stop your back from rounding too much. 

Step 8: To come out of the pose, breathe in and engage your core, then use the strength of your leg to come up. Then, repeat on the other side. 

13. Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakoapotasana)

Practicing external hip rotation is essential for achieving front-splits. Pigeon pose is also a great pose to do after Lizard pose and Low Lunge because it also stretches your glutes while engaging hip flexors. 

Step 1: From Table Top position (i.e. all fours) bring your right knee to your right wrist.

Step 2: Gradually allow your knee to fall to the ground as the bottom of your right foot opens to the ceiling by your left hip. 

Step 3: Slide your left leg back and let the top of your foot rest on the mat.

Step 4: Try to square your hips, pulling your right hip back and your left hip forward.

Step 5: You should feel the right hip rotate externally and open as you breathe for 15–30 seconds.

Step 6: As you breathe in, lengthen your spine and then breathe out to walk your hands forward. Bend over your externally rotated hip for 15–30 seconds. 

Step 7: Engage your core and push your hands to sit back up and raise your hips to Table Top position. Do the same on the other side.

14. Seated Wide-Legged Forward Fold (Upavistha Konasana)

A wide-legged forward fold has everything you need from a standard forward fold while also focusing on the inner thighs. 

You can move your torso over one leg, to the middle, and over to the side to practice middle splits and also front-splits. If your inner thighs are particularly tight, then grab a yoga block or bolster. 

Step 1: Sitting down, spread your legs wide in a ‘V’ shape.

Step 2: Keep your feet flexed as you lean forward onto your elbows. You should start to feel your inner thighs opening. 

Step 3: Keep your sit bones rooted to the ground as you bend your upper body towards the ground.

Step 4: Hold and breathe for 15–20 seconds. You then have the option to move onto your forearms to bring your torso closer to the floor. 

Step 5: If your hamstrings are flexible, you might be able to directly over each leg or down the center. If you’re not as flexible, then a yoga strap is a big help to improve your progress while staying aligned. Try to keep your back as straight as you can and avoid rounding by concentrating on your core and keeping a small bend in your knees.

15. Cat-Cows Pose (Chakrasana)

You may be confused as to why Cat-Cow poses may be a good pose for practicing straddle splits, but this pose is essential to a well-rounded yoga asana practice. 

This stretch helps you align your movements with your breath and lets you carefully strengthen and engage your back, shoulders, and your core while also keeping your stomach supple.

This gives you space to eventually fold forward from your hips with your back straight. 

16. Reclined Butterfly Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

This is a great pose to do at the end of a yoga class before you take a Savasana. It opens up your hip flexors and your lower back. With many options for support and modifications, it can be altered according to your groin and hip resistance. 

This pose is also called Reclined Bound Angle Pose (this is in fact the literal translation from Sanskrit), and the Reclined Goddess Pose.

Step 1: Lie on your back with your lower back flush to the mat.

Step 2: Bend your knees and bring your heels together and towards your groin. Let your knees fall open. You have the option here to prop up your knees with blocks, bolsters, or folded up blankets or towels for support. 

Step 3: You can outstretch your arms and relax them by your sides or over your head, or you can rest your palms on your belly and chest.

17. Head-to-Knee Forward Bend Pose (Janu Sirsasana)

This seated asana helps you lengthen your hamstrings with one leg at a time. This pose helps you stretch your large tendons in the back of your leg, and might just help you achieve depth in other forward bends. 

Step 1: Sitting on your mat, keep your right knee bent with your heel close to your groin.

Step 2: Stretch your left leg forward and flex your ankle so your left toes are facing straight upwards and towards you.

Step 3: Breathe out as you raise your arms and elongate your spine. Keep your spine straight as you breathe out and fold forward over your left leg. While you may be able to interlace your fingers over your left foot, you can strap a loop over your foot if this is not possible. Repeat on the opposite leg.

18. Full Splits Pose With A Yoga Block Assist

If you’re close to achieving a full-splits pose, then this is an amazing variation to try out! Start with your yoga block at medium height, gradually working your way down to the lower height before you don’t need a block at all.

Step 1: Go back to a half-split pose, and put a block under the glute of your front leg.

Step 2: Use your hands on either side of your hips to support yourself as you raise your back off the ground and straighten it as much as you can. 

Step 3: Carefully bring your hips back towards the mat, placing the glute of your front leg on a yoga block. 

Step 4: Maintain for 5–7 breaths on each side. 

How Soon Can You Expect To Master The Splits?

We bet this question has been on your mind for a while now! Well, the answer is that it all depends on your existing flexibility.

There are many factors that affect our natural flexibility, such as our age, sex, joint structure, muscle mass, and previous injuries. 

But with regular stretching and a good mindset, you can master front splits in a month. However, some people may need 3 months to a year of regular stretching to reach the floor.

Still, the main goal should be to boost your general mobility and to feel better in your body. 

11 Tips For Mastering The Splits

1. Warm Up First

If you’re cold, then your body is not in the optimal condition for stretching. 

It’s helpful to imagine your muscles are a rubber band. A rubber band that is cold is brittle and has a higher chance of snapping. Meanwhile, a rubber band will be pliable and soft. Before you begin, take a quick walk or do some cardio to warm your body up.

If you live somewhere cold, we recommend wearing warm clothing while doing light exercise to keep yourself warm. 

2. Take It Easy

Always take it easy. One of the largest mistakes yogis make is stretching excessively, or overstretching. Going too fast can lead to injury, which is obviously counterproductive to improving your flexibility!

Rather, you should mindfully move into poses, and when you begin to feel the stretch, stop for a second and breathe. Take 3-5 deep breaths before you sink deeper into the pose. 

3. Don’t Push Too Hard 

If you attempt to move all the way to the very edge of your range, you are more at risk of injury or experiencing sore muscles. Instead, you should try to stretch to 70% of your full range of motion.  

4. Pay Attention To Your Breath

When we’re attempting something challenging, we have an instinct to hold our breath. Stretching is no exception! Still, try to keep your breaths deep, long, and slow to encourage your body to relax and sink into the pose. 

5. Time Yourself

When attempting to improve your flexibility, a timer is a crucial piece of equipment. Make sure you maintain every pose for the same length of time on each side.

We advise setting the timer to 30 seconds at first before gradually building up to a minute.

6. Use Props

Props are an amazing way to make stretching a lot more comfortable. In the poses we’ve mentioned, many of them can be modified with yoga blocks so you can find ease and stability. 

But if you don’t have yoga blocks, never fear! Couch cushions, folded blankets, and pillows will do. 

7. Establish A Routine

Doing yoga every day isn’t going to automatically help you achieve the full splits.

To achieve the full splits, you will need to regularly practice poses that focus specifically on the adductors, the glutes, your groin, your hamstrings, the hip flexors, and quads. 

8. Try To Stretch Daily

This is advice you’ve probably heard a million times, but consistency is crucial. The reason you hear it so much is that it’s true!

You’ll notice a massive difference in your flexibility if you stretch for 15 minutes daily rather than 30 minutes three times a week.

Try to stay consistent with your routine, even if you just do a long forward fold at the end of the day. Stretching your tightest muscle group daily is key.

9.  Don’t Skip Post-Workout Stretches

Stretching following a workout should be a part of your flexibility routine. If you do body cardio or weight training, stretch for 5–10 minutes afterward to remain limber and reduce any tightness you experience when building strength. 

10. Micro-Bend Your Major Joints

When stretching your hamstrings, always keep a small bend in your knees. This bend may be so small that it’s hardly visible, but it gives you a softness that keeps you controlled, grounded and stable. 

When you lock your knee, the joint is pushed out of alignment. This can harm your knee cartilage, push your pelvis out of place, and cause strain in your lower back.

11. Concentrate On Full Body Alignment

To move into poses with stability, then finding a balance between softness and strength is essential. As you relax and stretch your lower body in preparation for splits, ensure your upper body is strong enough to support the pose.

Remember, long spine, active core!

How To Stay Safe During The Splits

We probably don’t need to tell you that trying the splits when your body isn’t totally prepared for it can be rather dangerous. Let’s take a look at the most common flexibility errors:

  • Skipping your warm-up: Stretching muscles that you haven’t warmed up is a big no-no. Practice your splits following a workout or yoga class to make sure your muscles and ligaments are completely warmed up.
  • Pushing a stretch: While stretching can be rather uncomfortable, it should never be painful, and you should never stretch your body excessively, or too quickly. Forcing yourself into the splits before you are ready could be more damaging than beneficial. Achieving the full splits is a marathon not a sprint and requires focus and patience. Rather than forcing it, focus on gradual improvements every week. 
  • Neglecting to breathe: All yoga poses return to synchronizing your breath with the movement. Achieving the splits requires you pay attention to your breath, especially when in a deep stretch. Breaking in and out helps you keep your focus while oxygenating your blood. Breathe in to lengthen the stretch and breathe out to deepen it. 
  • Only stretching for an hour every week: When building yourself up to the splits, consistent practice is more important than how much time you spend stretching. Holding stretches for extended periods of time (also known as static stretching) for an hour every week is probably not going to be helpful in reaching your goal. Rather, try to prepare for your splits for 10–15 minutes every day to see the most improvement. 
  • Dismissing pain: This may seem like obvious advice, but stretching or yoga should never be seriously painful. If you feel a sharp pain in your practice, stop right away. Stretching should only be mildly uncomfortable. It shouldn’t cause ripping or shooting pains. Make sure not to push yourself too far or you could injure yourself. 

How Do You Know If You’re Overstretching?

A common phrase in yoga is ‘move towards your edge.’ This refers to when you sit in a static stretch, and how you should move within your range of motion instead of pushing past the point of your natural elasticity. 

Move towards your edge without reaching it totally. Stretching should never be totally painful. If this is the case, ease up on the post or find a way to adjust it. But how can you tell if you’re overstretching?

  • You’ll feel pinching or pain while in the pose.
  • You’ll feel insecure in the pose.
  • You begin holding your breath, quickening your breath, or you find it hard to breathe. 
  • You are unable to relax in the pose.
  • You feel like you’re as deep as you can go.
  • You have sore muscles the following day.

5 Common Misalignments When Attempting The Front Splits

1. Uneven Hips

Make sure you are not resting on your hip or glute of your front leg to get your back leg closer to the ground.

This is common among those with tight quads or hamstrings. Use blocks to prop yourself up and sink both of your hips down evenly. 

2. Rotated Back Leg

If your pelvis isn’t aligned, then your back leg might rotate to rest on the inner thigh, calf, and foot. Make sure that the top of your back foot touches the ground and you are resting on the front of your quadricep.

If the stretch is too much, use a block or two below your front thigh to keep you stable. 

3. Flat Front Foot

Some people can move into the splits from standing, where they will have a flat front foot on the ground. However, your calf or hamstring will be unable to stretch to their total capacity.

Rather, move from a crescent moon position on the ground, raising your front toes and sliding your heel forward. 

4. Rounded Spine

Moving into splits safely requires correct form. Ensure you sit up tall with a long, straight spine and your core engaged. This helps you keep control as you move into the pose.

5. Hunched Shoulders

If you’re resting your hands on blocks, gently bend your elbows to ensure your shoulders are relaxed.

Final Thoughts

We hope our article has told you everything you need to know about front splits, side splits, and everything in between! While splits are challenging, with the right preparation you can perform one safely and smoothly.

Laura Simmons
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