Downward Facing Dog Yoga Muscle Anatomy

“Downward Facing Dog” also called as “Downward Dog Pose” and “Adho Mukha Shvanasana”. It is one of the most recognized Yoga poses and stereotyped in movies for Yoga and this shows the popularity of it. Many styles of Yoga use this pose to rest or connect with other Asana.

Why this pose? Well, this pose has wide range of benefits. From calming the mind to relieving tension and mood swings. From improving digestion to relieving headaches. It lets you to stretch a number of muscle groups in the leg and also to build strength in the shoulder.

The compound nature of Downward Dog Pose makes it difficult. For executing this pose, a large number of muscles need to contracted and lengthened. If any of those muscles are missed, the pose will be out of alignment.

In this article, you will learn about which muscles are lengthening and which are contracting during the Download Facing Dog Pose. So, let’s start with the anatomy behind Downward Dog.

Muscles Lengthening

Hamstrings:

Hamstrings are the flexors of the knee and extensors of the hip. But here you can see the hip flexed and knee extended. Hamstrings need to be lengthened so that they don’t restrict the hip flexion as a result of lack of flexibility. Usually, it is the Lateral Hamstring i.e. Rectus Femoris that is more limiting compared to Medial Hamstrings.

Gastrocnemius:

This calf muscle is powerful plantar flexor of the foot. Here, if the foot is plantar flexed, it will disturb the balance during Downward Dog Pose hence Gastrocnemius is lengthened.

Soleus:

Soleus is also a plantar flexor of foot. It is also being lengthened and requires flexibility.

Gluteus Maximus:

Gluteus Maximus, like the Hamstrings, is an extensor of the thigh. Thigh is being flexed in Downward Facing Dog so it is being stretched instead of contracting.

Latissimus Dorsi:

Lats not only involved in adduction of arm but also in scapular retraction. In Downward Dog, scapula protracts so Latissimus Dorsi lengthens.

Teres Major:

Teres Major does the retroversion of arm but here you can see the arm is in anteversion state so the Teres Major is being stretched thus requires flexibility.

Pectoralis Minor:


The major actions of this muscle are stabilization, internal rotation, depression and protraction of the scapula. It also elevates ribs for inspiration. Here, it is stretching.

Rhomboids:

Rhomboids retract the scapula that is exactly opposite of what is required for this Yoga stretch. Rhomboids will be lengthened as a result.

Posterior Deltoid:

Posterior Deltoid extends the arm at the shoulder but in Downward Facing Dog Pose the arms are flexed at shoulder joint and hence Posterior Deltoid is stretching.

Intercostals:

Intercostals normally assist to elevate rib cage and help in lung expansion. But in Downward Facing Dog Pose, the rib cage depresses favouring expiration so the Intercostals stretch for effective expiration.

Diaphragm:

Downward Facing Dog Yoga

The contraction of Diaphragm increases the area of chest cavity favouring inspiration while in expiration, Diaphragm is stretched as in here.

Muscles Contracting

Quadriceps:

Downward Facing Dog Yoga

Quadriceps work antagonistically to the Hamstrings. Here, their contraction will flex the leg at the hip joint and also extend the knee. This way, you will reach the position as shown in the picture. Their strength will definitely help.

All four Adductors and Pectineus:

Downward Facing Dog Yoga

There adductors will not only adduct the leg but also act as flexors of the thigh upon their contraction in Downward Dog.

Tensor Fascia Lata:

Downward Facing Dog Yoga

Tensor Fascia Lata acts as a hip flexor and internal rotator so you can understand, it is contracting here.

Psoas and Iliacus:

Downward Facing Dog Yoga

These muscles work together to flex your hip and hold the anterior pelvic tilt. Hence, contracting here.

Dorsiflexors:

Downward Facing Dog Yoga

Dorsiflexors such as Tibialis Anterior assist in dorsiflexion of the foot. By dorsiflexion in a pose like Downward Facing Dog, they provide the balance required.

Triceps all 3 heads:

Triceps of both side make sure your arms are extended at the elbows so that they can act as supports for the upper body in Downward Facing Dog.

Infraspinatus Downward Facing Dog:

Downward Facing Dog Yoga

Infraspinatus is a rotator cuff muscle. Means it provides the stability to shoulder joint and also involved in external rotation of the arm.

Teres Minor :

Teres Minor is also a rotator cuff muscle works with Infraspinatus in stabilizing the glenohumeral joint as well as external rotation of the arm. Its strength is as important as the strength of Infraspinatus.

Flexors of forearm and fingers:

The wrist and finger flexors lying in the anterior forearm flex the fingers so that hands get anchored to the ground and wrist flexion will also be favourable for Downward Facing Dog and reduces fatigue that will result with direct apply of force.

Quadratus Lumborum:

Quadratus Lumborum will contract to flex the lumbar spine so the rounded posture will be reached as you can see in the model.

Spinal Extensors:

Spinal Extensors will extend the thoracic spine. It will be crucial for the correct execution of the Downward Facing Dog Pose.

Easyflexibility Downward Facing Dog Pose Program

The difficulty of this pose lies in its compound nature. To do this pose correctly a large number of muscles need to lengthen Fortunately Zaichik Stretching Techniques (ZST) specialize in focusing in on problematic muscles.

Each one is taken apart and lengthened. Because the resistance is minimized, this is done very quickly. Most people see a huge difference, in just one training session.

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Back Lever Anatomy | Back Lever Physics

Back Lever Anatomy: Back Lever is a stronghold, you would have seen a gymnast performing. It is a basic gymnastics strength hold and a good starting point for beginners in gymnastics. Back Lever forms the basis of more advanced gymnastic moves such as Planche.

Back Lever is performed on a horizontal bar by extending the arms backward, holding the bar and lifting the body parallel to the ground and the performer being faced towards the floor.

Back Lever, despite being rated an ‘A’ value skill on the Code of Point (a scale from A to F with A being the easiest), requires a high degree of upper body strength for making the body stay horizontal. Performing it without strength in the respective muscles can cause serious shoulder injury.

This article will enable you to know all about the muscles involved in executing a Back Lever. So, let’s start the anatomy behind the Back Hold.

Recommended: Front Lever

Back Lever Anatomy: Upper Body Muscles Contracting

Finger Flexors:

During the Back Lever, you need your fingers to provide you maximum grip force so that you can hold to the horizontal bar. Finger Flexors help in forming that grip around the bar. The stronger these muscle are, the better will be the grip.

Wrist Flexors:

The action of Wrist Flexors is to flex the hand at the wrist joint. They will act to lift the upper body a little towards the bar.

Biceps:

Biceps

Biceps will be one of the major muscles required to resist gravity and hold the body at that horizontal position. Its strength will be a limiting factor in Back Lever execution.

Brachialis:

Brachialis

The brachialis is also a flexor of the elbow just like Biceps and it will perform the same function as the Biceps and that is to defy gravity and hold the body in position.

Brachioradialis:

Brachoradialis

Another flexor of the elbow. Working with the other two elbow flexors, it will help the body to stay parallel to the ground.

Anterior Deltoid:

Anterior Deltoid

Anterior fibers of the Deltoid flex the arm at the shoulder joint. So, during the Back Lever, it will also resist gravity by pulling the body towards the extended arms.

Pectoralis Major:

Back Lever Anatomy

Pectoralis Major is an extensor of the arm and just like the Anterior Deltoid, it will help in lifting the body against gravity and holding it.

Pectoralis Minor:

Back Lever Anatomy

Its major function here is to protract and stabilize the scapula as the whole-body weight is being transmitted on it.

Serratus Anterior:

Back Lever Anatomy

Serratus Anterior also protracts the scapula and will also be a resisting factor for the gravity. Thus, its strength is also very important.

Cervical Extensors:

Back Lever Anatomy

To make sure the whole body remains in line, the Cervical Extensors will play their role by extending the neck up against the gravity.

Spinal Extensors Back Lever Anatomy :

Back Lever Anatomy

Spinal Extensors will be very important as it will be pulling trunk, defying gravity by extending the spine. Without their strength, the body can’t stay straight.

Gluteus Maximus Back Lever Anatomy :

Back Lever Anatomy

Gluteus Maximus is the extensor of the hip. So, it will be also work against the line of gravity in lifting the legs up so that they can be in line with the rest of the body.

Hamstrings Back Lever Anatomy :

Back Lever Anatomy

Hamstrings are the prime extensors of the thighs at the hip joint. Thus, working with the Gluteus Maximus, they will also lift up the legs and hold them parallel to the ground.

Calf Muscles Back Lever Anatomy :

Calf Muscles are the plantar flexors of the foot. They also flex the knee. By doing both these actions, they bring the lower leg in line with the rest of the body and resist the pull of gravity like other muscles involved in the Back Lever.

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The Best High Side Kick Training (Step by Step Guide)

High Side Kick Training: A Side Kick is common in many of the Martial Arts that you see around the world. What is a Side Kick? It is a kick executed by bending the body laterally with the hip turned slightly over.

The kick is then thrown diagonally across the body towards the target.

executing high Side Kick

It is seen that most of the people encounter problem in executing high Side Kick. So, in this article we are going to learn couple of exercises to enhance your Side Kick (The height of your Side Kick).

The height of your Side Kick

When you throw a Side Kick, if you bring the body down and the leg comes up, that is not the issue we are going to address here.

throw a Side Kick

We are going to talk about the condition when you drop your trunk and leg doesn’t come up higher. In this case, most likely, the problem is strength and flexibility of the supporting leg.

What’s the issue? Flexibility or Strength?

You have to decide whether it’s strength or flexibility that is the problem in supporting leg or both. So we are going to use the wall.

What’s the issue? Flexibility or Strength?

Take the leg, bring it up, if you feel like you can bring the leg higher, flexibility is not the problem.

flexibility is not the problem

If you can’t bring the leg that high and you feel stress at the shown position, flexibility is the problem.

feel stress at the shown position

Now, the strength is another thing. Once you bring the leg up, try to lift it. If you can lift the leg for a few seconds and comfortable enough on the back of the supporting leg, strength is okay.

Preparatory Exercises High Side Kick Training:

Couple of exercises needs to be done before you get into the main exercises.

Preparatory Exercises

1.- With one leg straight and straight back, you have to lean forward as far as you can (doesn’t have to be all the way down) and come up. If you can go a little bit lower, that’s great. Do the same with the other leg.

With one leg straight and straight back

2.- Secondly, what you have to do is stand on one leg and then bend forward with the other leg in line with the body like shown. This is very important exercise for balancing on one leg during Side Kicking and at the same time it works on the strength and flexibility of the back.

High Side Kick Training: Main Exercises:

Now, after mastering the above mentioned techniques, we are going to go into techniques that actually help during Side Kick in terms of supporting leg.

High Side Kick Training: Main Exercises:

1.- In the first exercise, we work on the balance position like this. This also works on the hip and midsection on that side. Do the same on the other side and maintain it. It is a kind of Single Leg Dead Lift.

2.- After you have figured either the issue is flexibility or strength, the other exercise looks like this. Put your foot on the wall in Side Kick position at the hip level (If you can’t being it to your hip level on the wall, use a small stool at whatever height you can hold it up to.) From here we are going to lower ourselves down stretching the Hamstrings and coming up working on the Hamstrings for full stretch. So, when we come down, we are stretching the Hamstrings and when we are coming up we are strengthening them.

The Best High Side Kick Training

(To get a little bit stronger and a little bit more flexible, obviously the foot needs to travel higher.)

The Best High Side Kick Training

After you do this a few times, if flexibility is the issue, then you can just hold the stretch and come back up.

People that can swing the leg high:

Last thing I am going to demonstrate is for the people that have no problem with dynamic stretch meaning that they can swing the leg high but when they have to kick high, they face problem.

So, what you have to do is place the hand on the floor, bring the leg as high as possible on possible, let go of the floor and try to maintain this position. You can come up a little bit if you like. The point is you have to feel the stretch in the back of the leg.

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Front Lever Anatomy, Exercises, Instructions, Hints and Tips

Front Lever Anatomy: Front Lever is a beautiful skill performed by gymnasts and advanced calisthenics athletes. Holding the pull-up bar while elevating the body horizontally up with the arms having a 45° angle between them and the body is a fabulous exhibition of strength and skill.

Front Lever is a static hold which requires a high degree of back and core strength as well as the arms. Front Lever is a difficult move to execute and it has been said that for thousands of people who can do over 20 push-ups, only a few can hold a front lever. Not many athletes know how to progress for achieving a perfect Front Lever.

Recommended: Back Lever Anatomy

This article will help you understand the muscles involved in executing a Front Lever so that you can work on their strength in a specific order and progress your Front, Lever.

Let’s start the Anatomy behind Front Lever.

Upper Limb Muscles: Front Lever Anatomy

Rhomboids:

Rhomboids are rhombus-shaped muscles involved in the retraction of the scapula. This way, they assist in lifting the core towards the arms against gravity.

Latissimus Dorsi:

Latissimus Dorsi also called Lats, help in scapular retraction, adduction, and internal rotation. Strong Lats are important for Front Lever raises.

Teres Major:

Teres Major works as a support for the Lats in movements like adduction, internal rotation, and most important extension of the shoulder.

Posterior Deltoid:

The deltoid is a multifunctional muscle divided into three parts. Here particularly, Posterior Deltoid is involved and acts as a shoulder extensor.

3 Heads of Triceps:

The triceps is the prime extensor of the forearm. The long head of the Triceps acts as an extensor of the arm as well as the shoulder, showing how important it is in the Front Lever.

Wrist and Finger Flexors:

The muscles of the anterior compartment of the forearm particularly the Wrist and Finger Flexors play a great role here. Having a strong grip is important to execute this astonishing move. Here, the Finger Flexors come to the rescue. Wrist flexors are also working here to oppose the effect of gravity and bring the body up.

Pronator Teres:

As the name suggests, this particular muscle pronates the forearm. As you can see in the picture, the person’s forearms are in a pronated state.

Pronator Quadratus:

Also a pronator of the forearm.

Pectoralis Major (sternal):

The sternal head of the Pectoralis Major adducts the arm as well as draws the scapula anteriorly and inferiorly. These are some important movements in executing a Front Lever.

Neck and Torso Muscles

Cervical Flexors:

Cervical Flexors as the Sternocleidomastoid and Anterior Scalenes flexes the neck. This way the neck moves in the opposite direction to the line of action of gravity.

Rectus Abdominis:

Rectus Abdominis makes sure that your trunk doesn’t drop down because of gravity, by flexing the trunk.

Obliques:

While executing a Front Lever, Obliques do the same action as the Rectus Abdominis that is flexing the torso against gravity.

Lower Limb Muscles

Adductor Brevis:

Adductor Brevis adducts the leg to reach an adducted position of the legs as shown, bringing the legs in line with the body. It works with other adductors to adduct the leg.

Adductor Longus:

It is also an adductor of the leg.

Adductor Magnus:

This is the prime adductor of the leg and as discussed above, adduction is such an important movement during the Front Lever.

Gracilis:

Front Lever Anatomy

This strap like muscle is a strong adductor of the leg and helps in achieving the same fate as the other adductors.

Sartorius:

Front Lever Anatomy

Sartorius helps to flex the hip to elevate the legs against gravity.

Tensor Fascia Lata:

Front Lever Anatomy

Its function is to abduct the leg mainly but in the Front Lever, it will work as a hip flexor, hence elevating the leg.

Pectineus :

Front Lever Anatomy

The pectineus is an important muscle while doing the Front Lever. It not only adducts the leg but also flexes the hip.

Psoas (major and minor):

Front Lever Anatomy

Psoas muscles (Psoas Major and Psoas Minor) participate in flexion of the hip joint thus playing the main role in elevating the leg resisting gravity.

Iliacus :

Front Lever Anatomy

This muscle works with Psoas Major and Minor to flex the hip.

Rectus Femoris:

In addition to flexion of the hip, Rectus Femoris also extends leg at the knee joint and this aligns the leg in level with the Torso.

Quadriceps Vasti Front Lever Anatomy:

Front Lever Anatomy

The three Vasti muscles also come in the category of knee extensors and hip flexors.

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Planche Muscle Anatomy: How to Planche Progression Muscle Anatomy

Planche Muscle Anatomy: In Gymnastics as well as in Calisthenics, there is a move that enables the body to be held parallel to the ground while the arms provide all the strength to levitate the body above. This is called a “Planche”.

Anyone witnessing a full Planche for the first time is mesmerized by this surreal exhibition of strength. But Planche is not easy to execute. You need strength in some special muscles all around the body that we are going to discuss in this article.

Without the correct knowledge, many people have injured their neck and shoulders by trying Planche and holding it. Planche is so mystical that very few people know how to train properly for it and in what progression.

Let’s start muscle anatomy behind Planche.

Upper Body Muscles contracting:

The Muscles present towards the upper limb and the trunk of the body are under great stress during executing Planche. So, their strength is very important for the perfect and safe execution of Planche. The main muscles involved are:

Finger Flexors:

Finger Flexors

Finger Flexors help in anchoring the hand on the ground by flexing the fingers towards the ground, therefore, help in having support while doing Planche. These are Flexor Digitorum Profundus and Flexor Digitorum Superficialis.

Wrist Flexors:

Wrist Flexors

Wrist has to be flexed during Planche as you can see in the picture. So, the Wrist Flexors (Flexor Carpi Radialis & Flexor Carpi Ulnaris) need strength they can flex the wrist.

Biceps:

Biceps

The Biceps flexes the elbow joint. As you can see, a slight flexion does happen at the elbow during Planche so Biceps is playing its part here.

Brachialis:

Brachialis

Another muscle that flexes the elbow just as Biceps is Brachialis.

Brachioradialis:

Brachioradialis

It also flexes the elbow so the combination for these three elbow flexors need to be strengthened during a Planche.

Deltoid:

It is a triangular muscle with great importance in Planche and consists of Anterior, Middle and Posterior fibers. In Planche specifically, the anterior and middle fibers are important. Anterior fibers flex the arm at shoulder joint and middle fibers abducts it.

Pectoralis Major:

Pectoralis Major

This large muscle extends across upper part of chest and is attached to the Humerus hence functioning as an adductor and depressor of the arm. Due to this reason, an important muscle during Planche.

Coracobrachialis:

Coracobrachiali

It is another flexor and adductor of arm that plays an important role in Planche.

Pectoralis Minor:

Pectoralis Minor

It is an important muscle that plays part in stabilization of scapula as well as its depression, abduction and protraction to reach a favourable position of scapula as in a Planche.

Serratus Anterior:

Planche Muscle Anatomy

The “Boxing Muscle” is required during executing Planche as it protracts the scapula that is important for this move.

Spine and Neck Muscles contracting:

Cervical Extensors Planche Muscle Anatomy:

Planche Muscle Anatomy

As you can see in the image, the neck is required to be in an erect position in Planche so here Cervical Extensors play a great role.

Spinal Extensors Planche Muscle Anatomy:

Planche Muscle Anatomy

To reach this parallel position, Spinal Extensors are very important so that they can extend the spine making the body straight during Planche.

Leg Muscles contracting:

Gluteus Maximus Planche Muscle Anatomy:

Planche Muscle Anatomy

This hip mucle plays its part by extending the hip joint making the leg straight. Hence, it is also important for maintaining the straight and parallel position of the body during Planche.

Hamstrings:

Planche Muscle Anatomy

The Medial and Lateral Hamstrings also extend the hip joint just like Gluteus Maximus.

Calf MusclesPlanche Muscle Anatomy:

Planche Muscle Anatomy

These Muscles plantarflex the foot thus maintaining the typical posture of a Planche.

The strength of all these muscles is very important and reflects in the technique of you Planche.

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Anatomy Behind The Human Flag (Complete Guide)

Anatomy Behind The Human Flag: Many of you have probably seen the athletes or gymnasts executing a move where the performer holds a vertical bar and then lifts the body in a horizontal position parallel to the ground forming a straight line using the arms and the body. This move is known as the “Human Flag” or “Bar Hold“.

This requires the performer to have gigantic strength in the upper body. To execute this move, you need to know what muscles are activated during the human Human Flag and need to be strengthened and this is what this article is about.

Before starting, you must know that the upper arm, trunk and leg works differently to the respective lower counterparts while executing Human Flag. So, let’s start with the muscles acting in different sections of the body.

Top Arm Muscles Working

Latissimus Dorsi:

Latissimus Dorsi

It is a large muscle with a tons of functions such as pulling the arm towards the pelvis, extension, adduction and rotation. But here it will help the body to lift towards the upper arm by extending the arm against the gravity.

Teres Major:

Teres Major

Teres Major extends the arm and stabilizes the shoulder joint. Thus, functioning just as Latissimus Dorsi.

Triceps:

Anatomy Behind The Human Flag

Triceps works antagonistically to the Biceps extending the elbow nullifying the effect of gravity. Its strength is really important here.

Subscapularis:

Subscapularis

Subscapularis adducts the arm and this movement brings the body closer to the upper arm helping a ton in the Human Flag.

Rhomboids:

Rhomboids

Rhomboids play its part by pulling the shoulder blades together, providing stability of top shoulder.

Finger Flexors:

Finger Flexors

It’s obvious that fingers need to be flexed to form a tight grip are the pole so Finger Flexors (Flexor Digitorum Superficialis and Flexor Digitorum Profundus) play an integral part.

Bottom Arm Muscles Working

Deltoid:

Deltoid consists of three parts. Anterior, Posterior and Middle part out of which Middle and Anterior parts take part in supporting the lower arm against the body weight. Anterior fibers produces the flexion of the arm acting as a lever against gravity. Middle Deltoid Abducts the arm so the body gets lifted up away from the bottom arm.

Trapezius:

Trapezius

This trapezoid shaped muscle stabilizes and moves the scapula. It is an active muscle while performing the Human Flag.

Biceps:

Biceps

It is a prime flexor of the elbow hence providing the force to work against the gravity and lift up the body. Note that Triceps was involved in top arm but Biceps are involved in the bottom one. But the function they are doing is the same, working opposite to the line of the gravity to lift the body up.

Brachioradialis:

Brachioradialis

It also does the same function as Biceps. That is, flexion of the elbow.

Brachialis:

Brachialis

Also a flexor of the elbow. So, the group of these 3 muscles work together in flexing the elbow on the vertical pole and lifting the body.

Flexors of the Forearm:

Flexors of the Forearm

The muscles of the anterior compartment of the forearm participate in flexion of the digits as well the wrist. But the dominant function here would be the flexion of the fingers.

Muscles of the Core Working

(Top side of the body only)

Rectus Abdominis:

Rectus Abdominis

Rectus Abdominis flexes the upper trunk and stiffens it for perfect execution of the Human Flag.

Obliques:

Obliques

Obliques not only supports the trunk in the lifted position but also maintains the posture during the Human Flag.

Spinal Extensors:

Spinal Extensors

As the name indicates, Spinal Extensors extend the spine so that it remains straight against the gravity.

Quadratus Lumborum:

Quadratus Lumborum

This deep muscle provides extra force to lift by laterally flexing the trunk opposite to the line of action of the gravity.

Top Leg Muscles Working

Gluteus Maximus (upper part):

Gluteus Maximus (upper part)

Gluteus Maximus is a big muscle of the hip. In Human Flag’s implementation, it will be involved as an abductor of the leg with its upper fibers countering the gravity and lifting the leg up.

Gluteus Medius:

Anatomy Behind The Human Flag

Gluteus Medius is a prime abductor of the hip joint and will work just as the upper fibers of the Gluteus Maximus in abduction of the top leg.

Gluteus Minimus:

Gluteus Minimus

It works the same as Gluteus Medius so helping the top leg to be lifted against the gravity while performing the Human Flag.

Tensor Fascia Lata:

Anatomy Behind The Human Flag

It acts as a flexor and weak abductor of the leg hence working with the Gluteal muscles.

Bottom Leg Muscles Working

Adductor Magnus:

Anatomy Behind The Human Flag

Adductor Magnus, the prime adductor of the leg again working opposite to the line of gravity and the weight to lift the lower leg up.

Adductor Longus:

Anatomy Behind The Human Flag

Works just like Adductor Magnus in adducting the lower leg up.

Adductor Brevis Anatomy Behind The Human Flag:

Anatomy Behind The Human Flag

Another adductor of the leg.

Pectineus Anatomy Behind The Human Flag:

Anatomy Behind The Human Flag

It is the most anterior adductor of the hip. (Also a part of adductor group)

Gracilis Anatomy Behind The Human Flag:

Anatomy Behind The Human Flag

Gracilis is a long and thin muscle working with other adductor muscles on adducting the leg.

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Front Split Anatomy: How to Do the Splits, Training Tips

Front Split Anatomy: Before going into the details of Front Split, you must understand what’s a “Split”. A Split is a physical position in which the lower limbs are in line to one another but are extended in opposite directions.

There are mainly two varieties of splits that are Side Splits and Front Splits. A Front Split also known as “Hanumanasana” is done by placing the legs such way that one leg is anteriorly placed and the other lies posteriorly but are still in line with each other while the hips remain squared.

There are further types of Front Split, like True Front Split and Open Front Split. (Difference between the two is present on www.elasticsteel.com).

The type we will discuss here or take as a reference is True Front Split variation. Most of the people who try this variation face difficulty in executing it. The reason is lack of flexibility and strength of some important muscles that we are going to discuss.

Let’s start with the anatomy behind the Front Split.

Muscles Lengthening (Front Leg)

Hamstrings:

Hamstrings

Hamstrings is a group of three muscles helps in knee flexion and hip extension. During a Front Split, the front leg is flexed at the hip joint and the Hamstrings are lengthened. This is why, the flexibility of Hamstrings is important.

Gluteus Maximus:

Gluteus Maximus

It is also an extensor of the hip joint hence it is also being stretched during a Front Split and if it has low flexibility, it restricts the front leg.

Gluteus Medius (Posterior Fibers):

Gluteus Medius

The posterior fibers of Gluteus Medius contract to produce hip extension. This means these fibers are also stretching during the flexion of anteriorly placed leg. Thus, requires flexibility.

Adductor Magnus (Ischial Fibers):

Adductor Magnus

The ischial part of Adductor Magnus is considered the Hamstring portion and also resists the flexing thigh as it is an extensor of the hip so flexibility of this muscle is also crucial.

Piriformis:

Piriformis

Piriformis is an abductor and extensor of the hip. It is also stretched during the Front Split thus its flexibility is also a must.

Calf Muscles:

Calf Muscles:

Calf Muscles are plantar flexors of the foot. As you can see, the front foot is dorsiflexed. This means that Calf Muscles are being lengthened and hence require flexibility.

Plantaris:

Plantaris

It is a weak plantar flexor of the foot and gets stretched while executing the Front Split.

Popliteus:

Front Split Anatomy

Popliteus is a small muscle that initiates the knee flexion. But in the extending position of the front leg, it gets stretched.

Muscles Lengthening (Rear Leg)

Psoas Major:

Psoas Major:

Psoas Major muscle is a major flexor of hip joint. In the rear leg, the hip joint is hyperextended so here the Psoas Major is getting stretched.

Iliacus:

Iliacus

Iliacus works with Psoas muscle in flexing the hip joint and we know the rear leg is definitely not flexing, actually it’s the opposite. Thus Iliacus requires flexibility.

Tensor Fascia Lata:

Front Split Anatomy

Tensor Fascia Lata apart from being an abductor of the leg, is also a flexor of the hip and gets stretched the same way in the rear leg like other flexors of the hip and requires flexibility.

Rectus Femoris:

Front Split Anatomy

Rectus Femoris also flexes the thigh at the hip and same applies on it.

Pectineus:

Pectineus

Being the most anterior adductor of the hip, Pectineus can also flex the hip. During the hyperextension of rear leg as in the Front Split, it is stretched.

Sartorius:

Sartorius:

Sartorius is a unique muscle, not only can it flex the hip but also the knee. So, in the rear leg it will be stretched as other hip flexors.

Adductor Magnus (upper part):

Adductor Magnus (upper part):

The upper part of Adductor Magnus is devoted to flex the hip. So, it is stretching here and requires flexibility so that it doesn’t resist the Front Split.

Adductor Longus:

Adductor Longus:

Just like Adductor Magnus, Adductor Longus also participates in flexion of thigh in addition to adduction and getting stretched in the rear leg.

Adductor Brevis:

Adductor Brevis:

Adductor Brevis is an adductor as well as a hip flexor. It will be stretched as well. Its flexibility is important too.

Gracilis:

Front Split Anatomy

Although, hip flexion is the primary action of Gracilis, but it does participate in hip flexion and will be stretched during the hyperextension of the hip.

Muscles Lengthening (Core)

Psoas Minor:

Front Split Anatomy

Psoas Minor is a weak flexor of the Trunk. In Hanumanasana, the trunk has to extend backwards during which trunk flexors including Psoas Minor, stretch and if flexibility is not their, this can lead to hinderance in Trunk extension.

External Oblique Front Split Anatomy:

Front Split Anatomy

External Obliques are prime flexors of the Trunk. They will be stretched during the Front Split leading to extension of the Trunk. Their flexibility is important.

Internal Oblique Front Split Anatomy:

Front Split Anatomy

Another flexor of the trunk that is lengthening here.

Muscle Contracting (Core)

Spinal Extensors Front Split Anatomy:

Front Split Anatomy

Spinal Extensors do the same as what their name suggests i.e. extend the spine. They contract during the Front Split hence require strength.

Quadratus Lumborum Front Split Anatomy:

Quadratus Lumborum:

Quadratus Lumborum has a role in extending the lumbar vertebrae. It contracts while executing the Front Split like the one in the picture. Strengthening it will definitely help.

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