Five Stretches For Hip Flexors and Front Splits

Front Splits are a milestone for dancers and foundation for success. The ability to do the front splits is a measure of flexibility and translates to achieving technical aspects of dance with ease and efficiency. All to often dancers are told they need to get their front splits but aren’t given the proper tools to get there. So they go home and sit in the splits in an effort to get the splits.

But here’s the truth…the splits are NOT the prerequisite for the splits. Proper stretches are!

In order to safely achieve the front splits you need to stretch the muscles that oppose them. When this is done splits literally become easy! You will no longer need to force, push or wonder if you will get into the splits that day. Because you will!

At times, you can have up to 10 hip flexors opposing hip extension. For a dancer, this will not only limit your splits, it will also limit your arabesques, penchés, leg hold turns, grand battements, grand jetés and much more.

Also, it’s important to understand that you may be able to do the splits but still have tight hip flexors. If this is the case you are putting unnecessary strain on your hamstrings. Over time, this can lead to injury and decreased flexibility in the back of your legs.

So…ensure you properly stretch your hip flexors along with your hamstrings to experience ease in your front splits and improved flexibility and mobility in your hips!!

Below are our top five stretches for moving towards the splits with ease and efficiency without causing damage to your hamstrings

For the love of dance education!

xo

P.S…If you like the below stretches and want more check out our Hip Flexibility and Front Splits Stretch e-Book.

Stretch 1 : Crescent Moon

Steps

  1. Begin in Table Pose.
  2. Exhale – Step your right foot forward. Keep your back knee down and toes untucked.
  3. Inhale – Lift your chest and come to your fingertips. Draw your hip bones towards your ribs to maintain length in your low back. Find depth in your back hip. Level off your pelvis.
  4. Reach your arms out around and up. Slide your shoulder blades back and down.
  5. Breathe here for 4 – 5 rounds of breath.

Options (Modifications/Intensifications):
Option to bring your fingertips towards the floor in line with your hips. Option to tuck your back toe to relieve pressure on the back knee.

Stretch 2 : Crescent Moon Sweeps

Steps

  1. Begin in Table Pose.
  2. Exhale – Step your right foot forward. Keep your back knee down and toes untucked.
  3. Lift your chest and come to your fingertips. Draw your hip bones towards your ribs to maintain length in your low back. Find depth in your back hip. Level off your pelvis.
  4. Inhale – Reach your arms out, around and up. Side Bend to the right. Plant your right palm.. Draw your left bicep to your left ear.
  5. Exhale – Lengthen your spine forward. Plant your left palm on your mat.
  6. Walk both hands forward and to the left.
  7. Inhale – Side Bend to the left. Plant your left palm. Draw your right bicep to your right ear.
  8. Repeat 3 – 5x.

Options (Modifications/Intensifications)

Option to tuck your back toe to relieve pressure on the back knee.

Stretch 3 : Psoas Release

Steps

  1. Begin in Table Pose.
  2. Exhale – Step your right foot forward. Keep your back knee down and toes untucked.
  3. Lift your chest and come to your fingertips. Reach your arm out, around and up.
  4. Straighten your right leg. Shift your hips back over your left knee.
  5. Exhale – Place your hands on your hips. Engage your abdominals. Flex your spine.
  6. Press through the ball of your right foot. Lift your hip bones towards your ribs to posteriorly tilt your pelvis and increase spinal flexion. Slightly draw your chin towards your chest.
  7. Option to tuck your back toes.
  8. Breathe here for 4 – 5 rounds of breath.

Options (Modifications/Intensifications):

Option to tuck your back toe to relieve pressure on the back knee.

Stretch 4 : Crescent Moon Variation

Steps

  1. Begin in Table Pose.
  2. Exhale – Step your right foot forward. Keep your back knee down and toes untucked.
  3. Externally rotate your back hip. Reach your left foot to the right. Place your right forearm on your right thigh. Palm up. Place your left hand on your left thigh or hip.
  4. Inhale – Engage your inner thighs. Sightly lift your hips away from the floor.
  5. Exhale – Lower your hips towards the floor.
  6. Repeat 3 – 5x.

Options (Modifications/Intensifications):

Option to move your back toes back so that they are slightly behind the back knee with your toes pointing towards the back corner of your mat.

Stretch 5 : Extended Crescent Moon

Steps

  1. Begin in Table Pose.
  2. Exhale – Step your right foot forward. Keep your back knee down. Tuck your toes.
  3. Slide your front leg forward. Maintain a slight bend in your front knee.
  4. Place your palms or fingertips on your mat in line with your hips. Draw your right hip back and your left hip down and forward.
  5. Option to place your palms on a block.
  6. Inhale – Lift your back knee. Keep your toes tucked.
  7. Exhale – Lower your back knee. Keep your toes tucked.
  8. Repeat 3 – 5x.

Options (Modifications/Intensifications):

Option to lift the hips off the mat by placing your hands on yoga blocks or something roughly that size in line with your hips or pressing up on your fingertips.