The first splits that the children do are often far from perfect, but the main thing is to ensure safety during the exercise. In this case, the technique will improve too. How to get ready for the splits?
Why splits are beneficial and not difficult for kids?
When done correctly, the splits improve the joints health, make the pelvis more flexible. Besides, maximum stretch improves blood circulation, makes the intestines work properly and lengthens the spine.
It is much easier for children than for adults to fulfill a dream of doing the splits. Their ligaments and joints are more elastic and responsive. Professionals say that the optimal age to start is from 4 to 7 years old. If you and your child are ready for regular flexibility training and splits as their culmination - we can get started!
From warm-up to stretching
The main rule is not to stretch when the body is not warmed up. Not only is this ineffective, but it can also cause injuries. That is why we begin with a 15-minute warm-up. You can jump, do leg swings, squats, bends and other strengthening exercises, you can even go for a short run if you want.
After that, we move on to the exercises. Be sure to discuss the technique with the teacher: when the child knows what and how they must do, training will be safe in any conditions. To improve flexibility and get ready for the splits, the following exercises are effective:
● Back, forward and side to side leg swings.
● Bends forward with your hands touching the floor - hold this position for 5-10 counts.
● Forward lunges done with short springy movements.
● "Butterfly": Come to a seated position and move your feet as close to the groin area as possible, drive your knees down to the floor at the same time. Do swings with your knees as if they were butterfly wings.
● "Frog": Lie down on your belly and try to bend your legs until they reach a right angle. At the same time, do not lift them off the floor.
● "Star": Lie down on your back, try to spread your arms and legs as wide as possible. Tense the abdominal muscles at the same time.
The stretching process shouldn't be painful. It is better to pause and then move on to the next exercise, and it is definitely not worth enduring severe discomfort or stretching through tears.
Getting ready for a front split
Front split is considered to be easier to do, so it is better to start with it. After that, you can move on to the side split.
An effective exercise to prepare for a front split is to stretch the legs alternately while kneeling. Try to bring the pelvis as close to the floor as possible. Watch the extended leg: it should be straight and not bend at the knee.
Training for a side split
When you have mastered at least the basics of the front split, you can start stretching for the side split. The task is to spread the legs sideways as wide as possible with the arms extended forward. It is crucial to concentrate your body weight in your legs. Then slowly bend your arms and smoothly bring your elbows to the floor.
The result has been achieved - you’ve got the splits! Be sure to come out of the pose smoothly, then shake your legs and arms, pull them slightly to relax the joints and muscles. And praise your child for the regular efforts and early successes!