Seated Straddle Splits with Wall Assist
Martial artists often practice side splits where their legs are fully extended to the left and right of the body. This technique is often used in order to achieve higher kicks that involve lateral movement (i.e. a roundhouse kick to an opponent’s head). Side splits should not be confused with front or forward splits. Front splits are often used to achieve higher vertical kicks such as the axe kick. This stretch is also known as a wall straddle split.
Many martial artists have trouble with side splits and can only spread their legs in a narrow V shape (versus fully extending their legs). Therefore, martial artists practice seated straddle splits against a wall in order to improve flexibility. They are seated facing a wall, spread their legs as wide as possible and have their feet braced against the wall. While remaining seated, they inch forward towards the wall in order to use the resistance of the wall to widen their split. However, this is done very slowly in order to avoid injury (i.e. excess pressure on the knees). An alternate method used by martial artists is “gravity assisted” wall splits.
All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. For additional information on stretches and flexibility training, please visit the Stretching sections.
Instructional Video for a Wall Straddle Split