How to Do Splits & Side Straddles

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To do complete splits and side straddles, it is important to utilize various stretches and tools in order to open up the hip flexors and evenly stretch out both legs. Discover a few tricks that help the splits progression with advice from an experienced gymnastics coach in this free video on gymnastics techniques.

Part of the Video Series: Advanced Gymnastics Tips
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Video Transcript

Hi there, my name is Lisa. I'm here from World of Gymnastics in Woodstock, Georgia. We coach gymnastics, we also have cheerleading here at our campus and then there's swimming across the street. So we have a family feel at our campus. And now we're going to talk to you how we stretch and do our splits. I'm going to talk to you about our right leg splits, our left leg splits, and our middle leg splits. We stretch our right leg and our left leg the same way. We first start with our hip flexors where they're pushing their hips forward. Then I'm going to have the girls straighten their leg and they're going to reach for their toe making sure that that leg is straight and their arms are reaching really really far to give them a good stretch. After that they can slide both legs apart and they're and they're going to slide all the way down in to those splits, making sure their legs are straight, trying to keep their hips square to the front leg. Then we're going to move over here, and this is Emma, she's showing you our third kind of split. She's doing our middle split. Now if I were Emma's coach I'd be telling her to straighten those legs. But that's a great middle split, she's all the way down on the ground. We're utilizing this line on the floor. That way she can have a marking to know where exactly her feet need to be placed and where her hips need to be placed, so as she's pushing nice and down. Then I'm going to tell Emma to push up on to her hands and she's going to push really really hard down on those legs to get a good stretch. Now Brittany here is a little bit more flexible. So just doing splits on the floor doesn't really do anything for her. So now we're starting to over split her. And as you can see I've used two springboards and lined them up next to each other. That way we're stretching the back leg and the front leg. When judges deduct for leaps and jumps they're looking at both legs to make sure they're equal height in the air. If one leg's higher than the other it's a pretty good deduction. So we want to make sure we're stretching the back leg up higher and the front leg up higher. So I'm keeping her middle in the middle of the board, I'm having her pulling her chest back and I'm trying to keep her hips nice and square and I'm keeping her force down. This way she's going above the one eighty. Now we're going to show you how we get our straddles nice and big. Bryn's laying against the mat with Julie. She's going to drop and make sure her knees are turned back in to her straddle. Now Julie's manually going to help push her legs a little bit, just enough to give it a little bit extra stretch. We don't want to hurt her and we don't want to strain any muscles. But we do want to see that nice range of motion. Julie's also making sure that her knees are straight and her toes are staying pointed. So this is how we stretch to get a bigger straddle out of the girls and making sure their knees are turned back.

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