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Video:Tips for Stretching Before Doing a Center Split

with Talya Vexler

A flexible center split is a crucial foundation for building skills in gymnastics. Coach Talya Vexler shares tips on stretching before doing a center split in this gymnastics video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Tips for Stretching Before Doing a Center Split

Hi! This is Talya Vexler for About.com, and today we're going to talk about tips for stretching before you do your center split.

Warm-Up Before Stretching Your Center Split

First, you want to make sure that you warm up. Take about five to ten minutes to do some cardio activity that really gets your heart pumping, and so that you feel nice and warm when you do your stretches.

Also remember to start out small. You don't want to just jump into a big stretch right away. You can start with some gentle arm circles, some lunges, things so you can feel extra warm when you do go into a deep stretch. Always remember to stretch gently and never bounce in your stretches. Especially when you're getting prepared for your center split, you want to make sure that your stretches include range of motion exercises like leg circles and things like that, so that when you do your center split, you don't injure the muscle.

How to Stretch Your Center Split

Also, you shouldn't feel extreme pain when you're stretching. A little bit of pain is good, but remember to breathe through this pain. Often times, a stretch will make you feel like you want to hold your breath, and your muscles can't stretch very well without air.

Remember to breathe, and don't stretch until you feel extreme pain - just a little is good.One of the stretches you can do before you do a center split is a pancake stretch. This will help to get your hamstrings warmed up, and you can gently ease into it before you go for the whole center split.

The butterfly and sumo stretch are also good before you go to do your center split. Remember to ease into these stretches and do them once or twice, a minute at a time, 30 seconds to a minute, and then you'll be ready to do a center split.

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