By: Miss Danielle
What are square hip splits?
The easiest way of explaining square hips is to say that both pelvic bones face the same direction. Below are two examples of splits. One is square, and one is open.
Could you spot which one was open? The top photo demonstrates squared hips as the pelvic bones are facing forward to the right, and the back knee is down towards the floor. This position allows for proper stretching of the hip flexors. When splits slip into an open position, as demonstrated in photo two, the back hip flexor is no longer stretched, and the pelvis is pushed to the floor.
Front splits should be stretching these five hip flexors in the photo to the left instead of opening the pelvic floor and hamstrings. Hamstring stretching should only be felt in the middle split.
Why is this important for dance besides preventing injury?
There are many reasons why a dancer needs to stretch their hip flexors. As an Acro instructor, I will provide reasoning per the acrobatic technique. One example is learning back kick-overs. A back kick-over is when a dance in a bridge position kicks their leg over their shoulders and lands in a standing position. While open splits will initially allow athletes to slide down farther to the floor, they will not stretch the hip flexors required for a back kick-over.
Looking at the two photos above, do you see anything that would suggest the image on the right will be able to complete their kick-over more effectively than the image on the left? Notice the leg and shoulder position. Shoulders and legs need to be straight up and down. A kick-over is essentially the human version of a teeter-totter. Taking a closer look at photo one, we can see that their hip flexors are not adequately stretched. Even if their shoulders were over their wrists, this athlete would possibly struggle to get over, and worse, if they can only perform an open split, then they will cause their body to twist in the middle of a kick-over, risking injury. Photo two shows evenly distributed weight that is taking the pressure off their wrists and spine. Their legs are demonstrating a front split; they have stretched their hip flexors in a way that will allow them to kick up and over without twisting or risking injury.
For more information on our Acrobatics program, you can reach us at TMDEinfo@gmail.com. I would love to meet you and teach you how to perform a correct kickover! Our Acrobatics program is equipped to train ages 3-18, and we have multiple classes throughout the week.