Imagine you are looking at two people:
- Both are doing exactly the same True (Squared) Front Splits.
- Both have legs 180 degrees apart and are sitting comfortably on the floor.
While on the surface they are doing the same thing. Kinesiologically, their hips and spines are doing something very different.
Watch the video explanation here:
Functional Front Split - A split with legs 180 degrees apart, regardless of how the pelvis is tilted, how curved the spine is, and which muscles are stretched.
Structural Front Split- A split with neutral spine, even stretch coming from front and rear leg. Ideally 90 degrees hip flexion in the front leg and 90 degrees hips extension in the rear leg.
The majority of people develop their splits through flexibility of the hamstrings and lower back. With neglect towards hip flexors flexibility.
The advantage of a functional split is that it is easier to get for most people. The advantage of the structural split is that it is safer, allows better mobility and application. Developing hip flexors flexibility is the key to a structural front split.
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