In the wise words of Shakira, our hips don’t lie.
Many of us grew up with the assumption that if we just pushed a bit harder, we’d be able to get all the way to the floor in splits.
The truth is, not everyone has hip joints that will allow for a flat-to-the-floor split. If your hip joint has a decreased angle, a condition known as Coxa Vara, it is simply not possible for you to have a completely flat split! It’s not a matter of tight tissue that can be stretched, it’s bone blocking bone.
While Coxa Vara is relatively uncommon, it’s important to check your hip joint’s range of motion so that you know your parameters. If you’ve been trying to land your splits for some time now and feel like you’ve hit a plateau, there’s a chance that you’ve already reached the fullest expression of your splits.
So how do you determine whether you have the potential to land your split? Try these simple tests.
Front Split Test:
- Get into a lunge, and drop your back knee.
- Are you able to create a straight line (180 degree angle) between your front and back knee? If you can, your hip joint will allow you to do the split on that side.
- Switch legs and try the other side! Not all hip joints are created equal.
Center Split Test:
- Stand alongside a sturdy, hip-height surface (chair, table, couch, etc.) Have a chair or wall nearby for balance if needed.
- With your outside leg firmly planted on the floor, see if you can get your inside leg lying straight across the surface. Your two straight legs should make a right angle, and your hips and raised leg should be in line with each other.
- If you are able to comfortably do this on both legs, your hip joints should allow you to do a center split.
How’d it go? Hopefully these quick tests have given you insight into your body and what goals to set for yourself! Remember, if your hip joints don’t allow for a flat-to-the-floor split, that’s A-ok. Stretching those muscles is still just as important.
So in summary, everyone can do the splits, but not everyone’s deepest split is going to be flat-to-the-floor.
Looking for more splitty tips and tricks? Check out Split it in Two: A two-week splits program.