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5 Simple Steps to Fabulous (over) Splits!

Earn your Standing O in your Double Footlock Splits!

As Seen On

For some of us, flexibility comes more easily then others and there are usually parts of our bodies that are more naturally ‘bendy.’ For example I have always had reasonably flexible hamstrings but my hips and shoulders are naturally tight and I have to work hard to open them up on a daily basis.

In keeping with our commitment to helping you over come your aerial related challenges, today we are sharing some simple tips on improving your splits in the air. As we all know, a gorgeous Double-Footlock-Split can impress your audience (It’s the simple things!) more then open drops, Tripple Stars and Pike Climbs combined! So lets dive into…

The 5 Simple Steps to Fabulous (over) Splits on the Aerial Silks

1. Warm up THOROUGHLY!

Get your heart rate up for approximately 6-8 minutes before you even THINK about stretching. Running, skipping, dancing, yoga some kind of MOVEMENT that makes you breathe hard and leaves you with a light sweat.

2. Stretch Your (Square) Hip Flexors

Active Lunges: Once you are thoroughly warmed up, prepare your hip flexors for splits with active lunges. Place your right foot approximately two feet behind your left foot and bend the knee until it is just off the floor. With your hands on your hips actively tuck the pelvis and lift the belly (if you don’t feel anything in your right hip flexor slide your foot further back). Make sure that your hips are square (side by side). From here, straighten the right knee without releasing the pelvis or coming up higher on the left knee. Hold the straight knee tuck for 5-8 seconds before releasing, repeat 4 times and then repeat on the left side.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch: Place your right foot approximately two feet behind your left foot and place your right knee on the floor. Put your hands on your left knee, and inch your left foot forward so that your foot is IN FRONT of your knee. Square off your hips and gently lean forward from the pelvis keeping the pelvis tucked, back straight, shoulders down and belly lifted. Hold for 10 seconds, repeat 4 times and then repeat on the left side.

3. Stretch Your Hamstrings

From your hip flexor stretch, straighten the front knee (back knee on the floor) and lay your torso along your front leg. Keep the hips square, the front knee straight and try to LENGTHEN the spine, aiming to touch the top of your front foot with the top of your head. Hold for 10 seconds, then repeat 4 times before repeating on the other side.

4. Resist Your Couch!

Find a comfy couch at home with a padded chair of similar height or two padded chairs of similar height that you are comfortable putting your feet up on (in an unusual way!) We will be using these chairs as props to emulate the Silks and to practice your PNF stretching. Make sure you have a wall or sturdy shelf nearby that you can use to help yourself to balance.

Place your right foot and calf on the chair in front of you and carefully place your left foot and shin on the chair behind you. Using a wall or sturdy furniture (or trustworthy friend!), gently lower into your square split. If the split feels too intense release it and pull the chairs closer together so that your knees are on them and there is less strain on the hamstrings.

From your square split, actively press your heels/legs into the chairs, trying to lift your pelvis up (use wall/furniture/friend to balance!), keeping both knees straight, inhale and hold for 5 seconds, as you exhale gently relax the legs back into the chairs and release the pelvis back down towards the ground, keeping your hips square. Repeat 3 times then repeat on the left side.

5. The Showtime Split Cheat

It’s showtime folks! Whether you’re performing in an end-of-class routine, student recital, professional performance or photo shoot, this insider secret will ensure your simple Double Foot Lock Split will receive gasps of delight and rapturous applause! What is the ‘Showtime Split Cheat’ you ask? Well. It’s actually really, really simple. After you have spent the time and energy working diligently on steps 1 through 4, increasing your hamstring and hip flexor flexibility by stretching your square splits, you are now ready to implement and master the Showtime Split Cheat.

Get into your Double Footlocks on the silks and open your legs out into your split, on your best side, keeping your knees straight. Then. Open your back hip. Yes. we said it. The final and most effective step to fabulous splits on the aerial silks? Train your square splits constantly but when it comes to PERFORMANCE, release the back hip which will drop your pelvis down giving you a beautiful over split that the audience will go absolutely gaga for!

The gorgeous Erika Lemay demonstrating the magic of the showtime split cheat!

There you have it guys, 5 simple steps to fabulous (over) splits on the aerial silks! Try this program out for yourself, 4-5 times per week ideally (but whatever you can manage is fine!) and let us know how you get on. Post your #SplitPics and tag us on Instagram @womackandbowman

Have an amazing rest of your week!

Much love,
Rachel (and Brett)

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