Splitting wider in BHS stepout

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momof5

Member
Proud Parent
Oct 26, 2007
375
DD is learning her BHS stepout on a line for the time being. She is unable to move the the low beam yet because she is having trouble keeping in aligned. The coach says that she needs a bigger split since she just separates her feet a little. She has been actively trying to split more but is unable to. I am not sure she understands how to get her legs apart more. Any advice to help her split more on this?
 
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ryantroop

Member
Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
So... This is one of those drills that can help... Or not... The good news is that it is cheap to do at home, the bad news is that unchecked it could hurt your daughter. So please, take my suggestion and do it safely, and only if you think it applies to her.

If you have a carpeted area in your home, go to the hardware store and ask them for furniture movers. They are plastic flat pieces that are padded on one side and polished plastic on the other.

Go home and take 1 out, have your daughter kneel on both knees. Take one foot out in front of her (this should look like the split stretch at this point). Rest her heel on the mover, and control the slide into the splits.

My suggestion is that you stand next to her or she does it near a couch so she can catch herself if she goes too fast. If she loses control and slips while flexing her muscles she may tear her muscles if she is not prepared for the motion.

She should do this with both legs until she can squeeze all the way down on both sides. If it begins to hurt, stop for a day or two depending on how fast she heals, and try again.

The purpose of this is to increase her active range of motion - in other words, the range she can split while still using her muscles.

As I'm writing this I'm thinking you could probably use a towel on a wood or tile floor, too, but it may offer more friction so it won't be as smooth... Maybe you can try with a towel or shirt first to see if she even needs the active flexibility...

Hope that helps!

Ryan
 

gymalex

Member
Jan 3, 2009
75
Dallas, TX
It doesn't sound like flexibility is the problem here-- just body awareness and practice. You don't need a huge split to correctly step out of a bhs- just similar to a lunge stepping out of a handstand or cartwheel. I agree with the poster before who said to start the split sooner. There aren't a ton of drills that can be done for this, but I would suggest practicing on a tumble track, rod floor, or trampoline where you have a bit more air time. Think of starting the split right after the take off, the aim to be finishing in a nice lunge. If the coach is willing, he/she can spot a few through slow motion on the low beam, gradually speeding up.
If your daughter truly has a mental block, skip the step out and snap down onto two feet. It's not much harder, and it will get her progressing again. Then she can practice the step out until she's got the technique. Good luck, and keep us posted! :)
 

ryantroop

Member
Sep 21, 2008
423
Illinois
I suggested flexibity training because the request was for "more" split. Yes, an earlier split could do it too, but it sounds (as a poster above said) like an awareness issue. I would still do the flex. training, as well as doing tick tocks, basically front limberer to back walk over, maintaining a good split.

Thhat way, she gets used to the split position through motion.
 

gymdog

Well-Known Member
Coach
Former Gymnast
Proud Relative
Jul 5, 2007
5,121
Best drill for this is definitely going off an incline...starting standing on the low end of a springboard and doing the BHS off to the floor. it puts the hips in the correct position. Obv that's not something that can be done at home. Many girls are splitting too later and "popping" off the hands as well.

As a quick tip, it helps to think of it as leaving the second leg behind, and jumping more in the first phase rather than popping off the hands in the second. That second foot (trailing leg) almost wants to stay planted while the hips pop up and the first leg leads over.

Hip flexor flexibility is often an issue here, rather than the actual full split, for some girls...working on some seal stretches can help that, anything that stretches out the hip flexors. It's hard to leave that back foot behind when they're tight. I'd probably go as far as to say this is one of the main issues i see.
 
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