WAG Stretching over splits

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Dec 7, 2013
This question applies to either gymnasts or coaches.

For stretching over splits, do you prefer to put something under just the front leg, or both front and back legs so that the gymnast is balancing between 2 raised objects? I feel like it's more common to do it the first way but I've seen both. Which do you believe is more effective, and why?
At dd's gym they do a third option - they raise the front leg only on the track and then they turn round and raise the back leg only. They sometimes raise both between two objects, but more often they do them separately but still do both, if that makes sense.
Usually at my gym we do just front leg or both. I like doing only my back leg though because I have tight hips and my back leg never seems to get high enough to hit 180 and only stretching my back leg helps.
At my gym we don't usually focus on the back leg after a nice, full 180 split is achieved. The back leg can only go about 10 degrees over, if that. It depends on the gymnast. But rhythmic gymnasts stretch it so much they manipulate it.

Anyway, we focus on the front leg, since it has more ability to stretch more.
Over splits? I wouldn't raise either foot until the basic split is being done with a health contribution fro the hip of the back leg. I'll never understand the use of over split exercises for kids that can't roll their back knee under and keep their hips within 30 degrees of square.

Better to spend that time addressing the real issue.
I believe the most effective way of stretching is the way of "gently pushing the boundaries."
If you look at how a muscle reacts to a stretch you will find that progress is only made once the muscle relaxes in a stretching position. Exessive stretching produces pain and the muscle reacts with tension. This is its natural mechanism to prevent injuries.
Sitting in oversplits it is very difficult to controll the amount of pressure you put on your legs.
That being said I do let my girls stretch overplits but only one leg up at a time, starting with a small blue mat and only once they can sit in a split, arms by the side and bent their back leg to a 90° angle to the floor. (if you know what I mean:confused:)
Out of the nearly 50 girls I coach there are currently two able to do that.
On the girls' side, they use these things my daughter calls "rumble boxes" to increase the amplitude of their splits. If I understand the way she explains them, the boxes work both front and back legs and can be used for all three splits. Because they only start using them around L7, pretty much everyone has their splits all the way down and are working on oversplits with them. They also use panel mats, usually for the front leg but sometimes for both. I don't think I've ever seen any coaches doing any manual stretching on the girls' side.

On the boys' side, DS now sometimes works his side splits with the front leg up on a folded panel mat. I very much doubt that he will ever have a need to work on an oversplit for his center split, though he does finally have it all the way down, LOL! There's a little bit of manual stretching on the boys' side, but it's mostly this one poor guy, who is a terrific L9 but has a center split under which you could drive a small car when he has it as far down as it goes without help.
I prefer to put something under the back leg, but mostly because it seems to be easier to sit with good posture that way, at least for me :)
I think one leg at a time over stretched having both legs raised if gymnast is not doing it right can cause them to bend there knee. I also think being stretched on the end off a box is very effective
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