Friday, 26 March 2010

Let's horse stance our way into the side splits

If you can't do the side splits, join the club. It's an enviable sign of flexibility and like so many things we cannot do, we may have been blaming our 'unlucky' genes for not bothering to try. Yes, it's a painful concept for us lacking the ability to even watch someone do the graceful movement. Nevertheless, unlike conventional wisdom, it can be done with months or even weeks of training, as Kurtz explains that if you can do the half split, you have enough hip flexibility, just not enough strength ( He says that the side splits maybe in reach of us all.

His method starts with the horse stance. For those who don't know what a horse stance is, it's a stance used in karate and other martial arts as a foundation to other moves and stances. In particular to achieving the side splits, you place your feet about twice your shoulder width apart before lowering yourself between your legs so that your thighs are just above parallel to the ground. May I add this is a deep horse stance in comparison to others that more resemble a standing-up position, such as in Tai Chi. There are many variations to the horse stance, but as you will be trying to achieve the splits, it will eventually stop looking like a horse stance as you move your feet further and further apart.

Bboy Ryouku (, Paul Zaichik ( and Thomas Kurtz ( have all pointed out the irrefutable relationship between strength and flexibility. Progressive stretching may help do the splits, but Bboy Ryouku explains that lack of strength causes muscle tension instead of the relaxation needed to reach the side splits. Kurz explains why the tilting of the pelvis is essential for those last few inches into splits and Paul Zaichik has already demonstrated in a few youtube videos how important strength is to hold static high kicks. The idea is that we develop strength to be able to hold the horse stance from a relatively easy width, increasing the distance between our feet until eventually ending up with a very wide horse stance with our groin inches from the floor. From there, we should be very close to achieving the side splits.

Bboy Ryouko explains the method perfectly here, amongst many other things in an old post:

Thomas Kurtz explains his method here:

And below is Kurtz' method for maintaining the side splits. You will see how he develops the splits from the horse stance.

This is definitely a future challenge for me. I'll let you know if Thomas Kurtz' method works.

Email with any queries.
 Subscribe in a reader
or Subscribe to Urbantri by Email

Other References: