I have a question that  haven't been able to figure out myself.


For my entire life as a gymnast, It was drilled into me to keep your hips square when doing splits.

However! Since my sister has begin dance, she's been told that it's okay to open the hips. I've also seen photos of contortionists preforming them the same way. 


My question is for oversplits.

Should they be kept square or can you open them up? I have continued to train my over-split with my hips squared, but I'm beginning to wonder if that is even beneficial or a safe alignment when I'm pushing a two foot oversplit. 


Can someone please enlighten me?

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Well both....you are bending all ways  I wouldn't try to do them just one way.  Athough somewhere I read on this web site.... It is impossible to oversplit with hips square. I don't know if that is true ... but it is much easier for me to oversplit while turning the hip out and away.
After asking an ex rhythmic gymnast..... keep the knee turned down but as we girls age the hip will turn out  a tad....
Gymnastic splits and Dance splits are different, simple as that. They're used for different things, but they really aren't very different. Whatever feels right to you should be what you go with. If you are used to squared-off hips, then keep to that. :3
I was always taught that you try to keep your hips square, but it's actually physically impossible for your body to keep your hips perfectly square and sit in the splits position. It's more about a mentality thing. You should think about keeping your hips square, even if you can't actually do it.

I used to practice taekwondo. All kicking movements are done to the side. So any ty[e of oversplit for me is done with the hip open and the opposite foot pivoted.  It wouldn't make sense to me to do a oversplit to the front or back but, thats just me.

usually dancers keep splitting turning out due to esthetic looking (french cancan ....) but gymnasts and some contortionists tend to look for a perfect alignment, so square hips are the aim.

And yes that's also possible to sit in a oversplit while square hips are hold.

Good luck and feel as ease as you are with that !


PS : also in yoga the right alignment is the most important rather than the amplitude.

Mike (yoga teacher)

I seriously don't mean to rub anyone the wrong way but as far as im concerned anything other than squared hips is almost as good as cheating (WHEN TRAINING) aesthetically for an act, you can do whatever the hell you want. But i believe that when you train you should keep your hips as square as possible, yes you don't go as far down when you are square but you do feel a much more intense stretch in your hamstrings, also squaring your hips will also create a stretch for your hips especially when doing oversplits, if you dont sqaure you"ll probably feel close to nothign as far as a stretch goes in your hips. 

This is an old post, but I would like to add that the hips squared alignment, as practiced in yoga, is probably more safe. Yoga alignment is not designed around aesthetics, but with the goal that someone could practice yoga into their 80's and beyond. I don't know, but I look at the unsquared version of the splits and I see SI joint pain. It looks like the back of the hips are getting torqued. The sacrum can get overly mobile if the surrounding connective tissue is overstretched, and that's where problems start. 

Women are especially prone to SI pain, especially as they get older and/or have had children. 

I don't see why one wouldn't square the hips. But that's the yogi in me I guess. I learned yoga before seeing contortionists doing splits so unsquared hips looks strange or even a bit lazy to me. I guess that's part of the look. I don't mean to be judgmental.


You are allright. As a yoga teacher, I agree with your point of view.


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