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Other/Mixed The splits

Other strength modalities (e.g., Clubs), mixed strength modalities (e.g., combined kettlebell and barbell), other goals (flexibility)
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Level 5 Valued Member

Working hard in my flexibility these days. I read today that front splits should be achieved before side splits.

Whereas this sounds right to me I would like to ask the more knowledgeable people here if it is true


I am a student of strength.
Certified Instructor
First question: why do want to achieve the split(s)? Not many people need to achieve either one.
You can answer "Because it's cool to be able to do it", it is my answer too, but be honest about the reason and the need.
It may direct you to one version rather than the other.

Front split before side split? No. They are two different animals. There are actually people who can do a side split, but stay away from front/martial arts splits because they have a bad back. There are other people who simply cannot do a side split, for anatomical reasons.

Steve Freides

Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@FinlayB, I agree with @jef. I have a bad back - I have achieved a full side split and a martial arts split but don't work much on my front splits because doing so bothers my back, and it can also be hard on the knees. However, I do work on all three kinds of split, just less on the front split.



Level 6 Valued Member
I have been working on my flexibility for about a year now (about 10 months of it done the "wrong" way) before talking/working with some circus performers that do handbalancing and other aerial work that requires them to be very flexible/mobile I have learned the following: from what they say, people with good flexibility in the lumbar spine find the front splits easier than the middle splits. Personally, my front splits are lower than my middle splits, but working the "best effort" front split is much more intense for me than the middle splits, which I think is largely due to my lower level of lumbar flexibility compared to other areas, also I have pretty good leg strength compared to the circus artists who skip leg day :p.

A few recommendations: use active mobility/flexibility to do things like swing your legs or lift them at various angles (I do that before and after static stretching). Also, Pavel's book Relax Into Stretch is a great resource that you won't regret.
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