Side Splits Anatomy: How to Do the Side Splits

What is a split?

Side Splits Anatomy: A stance of the body where the legs are present in such a way that they make a horizontal line in between is called a split. There are many varieties of splits but in this article, we are going to talk particularly about the Side Split and it’s Anatomy.

Side Split:

Side Split is done by abducting your legs out as far as possible on each side of your body. Side Split is commonly executed in many athletic activities, martial arts and Yoga where it is also called as “Samakonasana”.

In order to do a perfect Side Split, some muscles need to be flexible and others need to be strengthened. Obviously, we will focus on strengthening the muscles that help in the execution of the Side Split and on the other hand, work on the flexibility of the antagonist muscles.

Recommended: Front Split

Muscles Lengthening:

First, we will be talking about the muscles that can restrict the Side Split and need to be flexible for a Side Split to be performed perfectly and safely. These muscles lengthen during the Side Split.

Let’s start with the Adductors of the hip. These include

Adductor Magnus:

Side Splits Anatomy

Adductor Longus:

Adductor Longus:

Adductor Brevis:

Side Splits Anatomy


Side Splits Anatomy

& Gracilis:

Side Splits Anatomy

All these muscles lengthen during the Side Split and require flexibility to reach the abducted position of the Side Split. If these muscles will be tight, they will restrict the abduction of the hip.

Side Splits Anatomy

In addition to the Adductors, another group of muscles named as Dorsal Flexors undergo lengthening during the Side Split and also need to be flexible so that the foot is in more Plantar flexed position that is more suitable for the Side Spilt.

Dorsal Flexors

At last, Hamstrings also need to be flexible during the lengthening process for a perfect Side Split so that the Medial Rotation performed by them can be minimized. The Hamstrings are further divided into Medial Hamstrings including Semitendinosus & Semimembranosus and Lateral Hamstrings that is Biceps Femoris.

The medial group requires more lengthening due to horizontal abduction and lateral rotation of the hip.

Muscles contracting to hold the Position:

Now, let’s talk about the muscles that are contracted to hold the position and requires strength during a Side Split.

The first muscle is

Gluteus Maximus:

Side Splits Anatomy

Side Splits Anatomy

This big muscle performs the Lateral Rotation and Extension of the hip joint that are important movements for a side split to be executed perfectly. So, it’s contraction and strength will aid in a smooth execution of the Side Split.

During a Side Split, the main goal is to abduct the legs as much as possible so Adductors of the hip come into play. These are

Gluteus Medius:

Side Splits Anatomy

& Gluteus Minimus:

Side Splits Anatomy

Side Splits Anatomy

And their contraction and strength is mandatory.

And their contraction and strength is mandatory.

Plantar Flexion of the foot during the Side Split is more favorable than the Dorsiflexion and thus, Plantar Flexors also require to be contracted, and of-course their strength is important.

Side Splits Anatomy

Plantar Flexors

Another group of muscles called Quadriceps that extend the leg at the knee and flex the thigh at the hip joint plays a major role in performing the Side Split perfectly. Hence, their strength is required for their effective contraction.


The last group of muscles that are important to be strengthened is Deep Six Lateral Rotators. As you might know, Lateral Rotation is necessary for a well executed Side Split. Therefore, these muscles are required to be strong as well.

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