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I had someone tell me I had extremely good turn out - actually it's pretty good but I can't do the middle splits - YET.

I've seen people here do chest stands or feet touching head yet can't do front splits.

Lets tally up some differences here in the comment thread. Are you the same with great turn out but no middle splits? I think I'll get there eventually but it's really bugging me that I'm struggling for what feels like weeks with no progress.

Do you think it might be useful to know so we can take a look at each others pics and get a sense of where the flexibility is or isn't happening?

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Ah I've been wondering what the difference between straddle and middle splits is.  Thanks for pointing this out! :)

I have average turnout, absolutely nothing special. However, I have my middle splits and beyond without assistance. I also have hyper extended knees which makes splits VERY easy for me.

Which splits do your hyper extended knees help you with? Middle, front or both?

hyper extention helps with no splits because yes it will make your calf touch the floor first and will make u appear more oversplit, but in order to get to the floor you need the hamstring flexibility so your thighs touch the floor aswell as your calves. and that is a right/left split. for middle is doesnt do a thing because hyper extention bends the knees back, not side ways.

I hyperextend my knees in front and middle splits. However straddle splits cannot be hyper extended because my knees hyperextend back not inward (if that makes any sense). It gives the appearance of extreme over splits. But my turn out has nothing to do with my splits. Its all hamstring and adductor flexibility.

This is a warm up to my middle split:

http://contortionistsunite.ning.com/photo/oversplit-15?context=user

Here is a perfect example of hyperextended knees.. My things are completely on the ground but my knees bend upward

http://contortionistsunite.ning.com/photo/oversplit-warm-up-after-1...

Thanks Anya! The hyperextention really contribute to the impression of big oversplits.

I have many a yoga student who is hyper moble but older, or has amazing turn out, or great shoulders, or what not. Just because one is flexible one way does not mean it will carry over for another stretch. One lady (60ys) just got her bridge all cause I worked her not so flexible hips and built up shoulder strength we are working on splits....which she is maybe 3 or inches from the floor, yet she can not sit upright in a straddle sit to much lower curve to the spine. I on the other hand can only do my middle split once my back is warmed up. I need my lower back to level out before the middles is achieved. I have some in ballet class who have a higher arabesque but my splits is better ( that is more due to upper back and shoulders and me not ever being warmed up properly). But the point is you need to play around with all angles and positions. One will help another.

Oh and my turn is piss poor until I warm up.

WHAT IS TURN OUT?????

 

I understood it as what you do in ballet in first and second position for example. Turn hips and feet out.

I can do the middle splits and over middle splits, but my turnout is terrible, non existable.

Hi Juliana,
That's a great question!  If you think about these two factors anatomically, it might make a bit more sense.  If you have ever seen a diagram of a pelvis with the femur in the hip socket (acetabulum), that will make this easier - if not I highly suggest looking at one!  Turnout is merely the rotation of the femur itself inside of the hip socket.  It does not require extension of the leg in any direction, merely rotation.  For straddles and middle splits, which can be performed either in neutral (parallel) or external (turned out) rotation, it's a bit different.  If you are talking working a middle split in parallel, it requires lots of inner thigh flexibility as well as hamstring flexibility.  A helpful thing to imagine so your inner thighs are not put under so much stress is to imagine like a ballerina you are "lifting" your leg to the side - a ballerina would call it a developpe a la seconde.  When sitting in a straddle, try not to think of merely "opening" your legs out to the side (this visualization often ends up putting some strain on the hips) and instead imagine that hip socket lifting up (as if it were going to lift off of the floor) and then out from your hip and not your knee. From there, you can rotate your legs into parallel or turn out as you like.  Keep in mind that we can only stretch so far as we have the strength in those muscles to sustain - if you are going to be stretching your inner thighs a lot, it is important to strengthen them simultaneously as well.  When sitting in your straddle, see if in turnout you can try to actually lift your legs off of the floor without disturbing your alignment in the rest of your body particularly your spine.  Your legs do not actually have to come anywhere near off of the floor, but it is the action of "thinking" about lifting them as if you actually were that will make the proper muscles engage.  However, if you lift them and your alignment goes awry and you begin to lift from a turned in position, you will bulk up your quads and one of your more superficial hip flexors which will begin to limit your mobility in almost all directions.  Good luck, let me know if that works for you! xoxo

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