Forum: Advice / Stretching

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Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By DeStijlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 16, 2011 07:27 PM

I have never gotten my center splits :(

I've been dancing since I was 4 years old. I am now 23.

I was dancing and stretching on and off again since I was 17, but have been more or less training and stretching for an entire year this year - and I still am not even close. I feel like I haven't actually seen any improvement at all. Maybe an inch, but nothing to celebrate.

Its not like I've reached a limit either. My legs cant go very far apart at all. Its kind of embarrassing. I reach my threshold very easily.

I take stretch and flexibility classes 3 times a week, and I stretch at home every other night. Pretty much all home stretching I do is for center splits.

I have my side splits, on both sides (more comfortable on the left side). I've had them since I was a kid with no struggles.

Is anyone else like this? I feel like I've been working on my middle splits for the better part of 10 years now and that my body just will never get there.

29 Replies to Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?

re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By panicmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Wed Nov 16, 2011 09:27 PM
Same here. My second is BARELY better than 90 degrees. Que pena. If it hasn't happened yet, it ain't gonna happen. Learn to fake it.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By MonkeyStepsmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Nov 17, 2011 07:30 AM
I got my centre splits down really far, only a few inches off the ground, when I was at college - but unless I'm stretching specifically for them every day, they shoot back up to only 90 degrees again. I just stretch them as far as they go and then, like panic says, fake the rest in leaps etc.

A bigger issue for me is left splits. Even flat with the right leg and almost flat in the centre, the problem I had with my left hip once seems to mean I'll never get flat on the left.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By MarlaSingermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Nov 17, 2011 07:49 AM
If I'm stretching regularly, I can definitely see improvement in mine, but I've never gotten them all the way. I just don't think I'm built that way. I've gone to beginner pilates and yoga classes where people who don't do any type of regular stretching will just sit down and get their legs 120 degrees apart right off the bat, and that's about the best I can do after months of stretching!
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By moomintrudemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Thu Nov 17, 2011 08:01 AM
I have a similar issue with right splits...never been able to get them down no matter how much I stretch.

Centre splits were always my best, then left leg. Now I can still get left down to the floor without any warm up. Centre Is a few inches off unless I stretch for a few minutes, then its pretty much down.

Right on the other hand is a good few inches off the floor no matter what I do, I have been dancing since the age of 6 (27 now) and they just got to a point and stopped.

The even weirder thing is that I kick better on my right leg rather then my left. Go figure :?

MOOM
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits? (karma: 1)
By leap2livemember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Thu Nov 17, 2011 10:41 AM
I think some people just don't have the physical structure that allows certain positions- such as center splits. For me, I have hyper-mobile joints, so I've always had my center splits, with hardly any work. But some girls in my class just were never able to get them, no matter how long and hard they stretched. I think some people's hips are just able to do them, and other people's hips cannot. Sorta like curling your tongue, either your body can or can't.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Fri Nov 18, 2011 02:36 PM
^ Yep - to a certain extent, it has to do with hip structure.

Quoth Wikipedia, which is quoting a reliable source:

The extent to which an individual can rotate their legs is largely predetermined. The degree of turnout attainable is determined by the shape of the femoral neck and the angle at which the femoral head is inserted into the hip socket, the orientation of the hip socket, the elasticity of the iliofemoral ligament, and the flexibility of the hip and thigh muscles.


I'm like leap2live, I'm double-jointed and have always had natural 180* turnout in my hips. I don't have my center splits at the moment, but it would only take me a week or so to get them back. My body naturally bends in strange ways. I haven't had my side splits for years, but that's just laziness on my part. On a good day I nearly have my right, left is more tight.

That said, there's still a LOT you can do to improve flexibility - an inch is still nothing to sneeze at, really.

Were I you, I'd talk to your teacher after class and ask if she has any recommendations. If it's just the placement of your hips, she can probably see it. My Pilates instructor picked out every anatomical anomaly in my body after one class, it was damned impressive. So if you just want to settle the issue, I'd ask your teacher her opinion.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By Supergirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Nov 19, 2011 07:26 AM
I've never been able to get mine either!

I got really close about 5 years ago, after lots of practise but never quite got there :(
I've just accepted that I am one of those people who can't do it.

Lauren
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By mandakp
On Mon Nov 21, 2011 06:18 PM
Never been able to get them either! I just accepted that my body obviously can't do it, I stretch to try and improve, but I don't think it's ever going to happen.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By mrsmorganrose
On Fri Jan 20, 2012 06:50 PM
I cannot get my center split either. I have a great left split and an o.k right split.
My problem is when i get into my center spilt my right leg turns in.
Most of the time when a person is close to getting a split they turn their hip and/or knee out. This can be fixed but its very difficult.
With leaps, jumps, and floor work I just fake it.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By contemp_is_rad
On Sat Jan 21, 2012 03:38 PM
I was in the same boat, til I started getting regular massage on my glutes and adductors. Now I'm only an inch or so from the ground! I was seriously at 90 degrees before.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By Buttons22
On Fri Feb 24, 2012 07:55 AM
My daughter has been dancing for 6 years and can't do them either, hours of stretching still not there yet! Thanks for some good advice. I'm sure she will get there in the end.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By Cadbury_Eatermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Feb 25, 2012 06:49 AM
I never got them-I got close at one point but then I got a hip injury. (Landing on knee, screwed my hip).

I had oversplits in both left and right splits, but could never get flat in middle.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By Luthmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sun Feb 26, 2012 04:10 PM
leap2live wrote:

I think some people just don't have the physical structure that allows certain positions- such as center splits. For me, I have hyper-mobile joints, so I've always had my center splits, with hardly any work. But some girls in my class just were never able to get them, no matter how long and hard they stretched. I think some people's hips are just able to do them, and other people's hips cannot. Sorta like curling your tongue, either your body can or can't.


Exactly what I was thinking...Ive been dancing since I was 4,trained in a pre professional school but center splits? no way jose! For me it actually doesnt even hurt, its like the bones are just stuck.
I can stretch all i want but i wont get any closer to getting them, Offcourse since it doesnt seem to hurt me, you can always force it violently or something but Im not really waiting on broken hipbones either.

So im blaming it on physical structure. Now the other splits (dont know the english word) I got those down since i was 12 and im 24 now so those dont seem to be a problem.
But i know how frustrating it feels when u want it so badly and you know that your body just simple isnt capable of doing it.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By oz_helenmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:06 AM
I have no turnout so even in my prime in my early 20s, I was nowhere near getting centre splits, even though I could get both right and left ones.

Helen
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By Jaypie44
On Sun Apr 08, 2012 01:21 PM
I've been trying to stretch my center splits for five minutes each day. Each day, I get them so that they are almost touching the floor. When I go to do them again the next day, they are back where they were originally! What the heck?!?
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By Emmalite
On Wed Apr 18, 2012 01:11 PM
i still cant get mine!! i stretch almost everyday for a half hour/hour and dance 3 times a week and i still cant! im so far off its so frustrating!
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By dancingkatiee
On Sun May 27, 2012 04:52 PM
I find that I have to stretch every single night or else I lose a lot of flexibility!
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By Cheesemoo
On Mon May 28, 2012 08:41 AM
Centers are the only ones I have consistently now, and although I think I've always found them easier than rights and lefts, there were many years where I was very, far from the ground.
I think my main problem, and maybe this is the problem for some of you guys too, was that I was only doing stretches that stretched both sides evenly at the same time. Problem was, one side was MUCH more flexible than the other, so I kept ending up pulling muscles in one leg in order to get a good stretch in the other one. Once I started doing individual leg stretches and was able to even it out, I immediately saw a LOT of progress. A lot of middle split stretches are not easy to do, especially if you don't have a lot of flexibility there already.

I think what makes splits, any type, so difficult is that there are so many muscles that have to be very limber in order to make it happen. I have very flexible turn-out/hip muscles, but can barely touch my toes/perform other hamstring stretches, so it makes sense that I'm much better at centers. Maybe that's also the problem in a lot of cases.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By MySunShine
On Tue May 29, 2012 02:45 PM
I do have some problems with getting my center split at the moment. Because whenever I push it to the limit I get a really bad pain in my hips which only makes the progress slower and worse. :[
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By caitydancerr
On Thu Jul 05, 2012 06:53 PM
I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who is like this. I have my right and left splits (left is more natural for me) but I don't have my center split. It's really weird but when I try to go down in a middle split I can't even like get into the right position. I don't even really know how to explain it well. I think it may have to do with my turn-out and the rotation of my hips or something. This summer I'm trying I stretch and work on my middle split daily to see if I can improve.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By sugarfairy_member has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Mon Jul 16, 2012 05:55 PM
I can't get them either. It seems to be one of those things many people's bodies just can't achieve and it has nothing to do with you not working hard enough or not wanting it badly enough. Whenever I tried to go into the center splits, I got real pain in my hip, so I got so worried about ruining my health at some time, that I stopped stretching for those splits and had an x-ray of my hip to see if the bones are the problem.
Turned out that my bones are just fine, but the ligaments between my legs that need to be stretched to achieve the center splits are close to steel cables, and while there's room for improvement, I'm not likely to ever reach a full 180° angle. That's just it. So I got back to stretching and my highlight was when I could lean comfortably forwards on my elbows while in a straddle, which I wasn't able to ever do in my whole life.

Then I had time and health issues and stopped stretching entirely for a whole year, and when I got back into a straddle again for the first time, I could barely sit up straight with my legs at a 90° angle because the ligaments in my legs were hurting like mad. It gets better again rather quickly with stretching regularly again, but this massive step backwards really shocked me at first...
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By GummieBear
On Tue Aug 21, 2012 09:15 PM
Same here! I've been dancing since I was five and my center splits just won't happen! Even though I feel like it's never going to happen I still try. Infact feeling like it's never going to happen causes you to believe that it's never going to happen and you don't try as hard. Last year I decided that I can do the splits and I've been stretching ever since, I've made very little progress, but working hard and believing will get me there soon!!

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS AND SET GOALS
*GummieBear*
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By smileywomanmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Tue Aug 21, 2012 09:17 PM
I had center splits as a gymnast in my teens, but as a dancer not able to do them (I'm 50+). With side splits I can go all the way with right split, but not left split.
re: Anyone else just CAN'T get center splits?
By GummieBear
On Tue Aug 21, 2012 09:24 PM
Just stretching for five minutes is not long enough. You should stretch for at least an hour each night. I discovered that one day you stretch and the next day your back where you started is very common. First, you warm up to get the blood flowing through 'cold muscles'. Then you do some simple stretches for thirty minutes and then for the other thirty minutes stretch a little harder but, don't go for extreme pain. This way you see results. Last you calm down to return the blood to its original flow.

FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS AND SET GOALS
*GummieBear*
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