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Video:How to Do Ballet Splits

with Jennifer Peterson

Ballet splits are an important stretch for warming up for dance. Learn how to properly stretch for and practice center ballet splits.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Do Ballet Splits

Hi, I'm Jennifer Peterson for About.com. Today, we are going to discuss how to do the splits.

Stretching for Ballet Splits

One good way to start practicing for your splits is stretching in a back and forth motion. So first, you'll go forward into a lunge - this stretches your hip flexor - and then you can sit back and stretch the back of your leg. And then you can practice sliding out into your split.

Another good way to stretch for your split is to do a split lying on your back. So you'll have one leg lying out extended in front of you, while you're pulling the other leg into your chest. Be careful to keep both legs nice and stretched, especial beneath the kneecap.

Another great way to stretch for your splits is by doing what we call an oversplit. You need to find something that's a little raised up from the ground, and you're going to put your front leg on top of that and stretch out into your split, just like this.

Practicing Center Ballet Splits

Not only can you do a right and left split, you can also do what we call a center split, or a straddle. You'll sit with your legs apart, and you can stretch from side to side here, getting a nice lateral stretch while you're stretching out the insides of your legs. You can also reach to the center and try to flatten out your body on top of the floor.

You want to make sure before practicing your splits that your body is nice and warmed up. You don't ever want to go down into a split without warming and stretching your body first. Also, you shouldn't be holding your splits for too long. More than a minute, you can cause some damage to your body.

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