Front Split Basics + Anatomy

The Front Splits are a balancing act with one leg in front, and one leg behind us.


The skill requires you to have independent control of each muscle.

We do this by learning how to contract and relax the muscles in each leg. When you first try the splits, you will start with your front heel on the ground, and the back knee + foot on the ground.

As you get stronger and comfortable in stretches, more of your leg will touch the ground.

Until then, you’ll need to use the arms to take some of the weight off the lower body. Sticks, chairs, or yoga block work great for this.

Some anatomy: the muscles involved are the Hip Flexors (Psoas and Iliacus), Quads, Hamstrings, and Calves.


Hip Flexors

Calves                                                          Hamstrings


Front Leg requires the hip flexors and quads to SHORTEN, or squeeze shut hard. You’ll have to learn how to contract them on purpose.

Back Leg requires the hip flexors and quads to LENGTHEN, or open long.


This also means, that on the front leg, the glutes, hamstrings, and calves  will need to LENGTHEN, or open long. Each muscles must be stretched independently.

This also means, that on the rear leg, the glutes, hamstrings, calves will need to SHORTEN, or squeeze shut hard.


  1. Back Leg is Glutes + Hamstrings = Shortening / Hip Flexors + Quads = Lengthening
  2. Front Leg is Hip Flexors/Quads = shortening / Hamstrings + calves = Lengthening

Helpful Setup Tips:

  • Having arm support will make balancing easier to start.
  • Choose a foot surface that is less slippery like a carpet at first, then try on a harder surface like wood later.
  • Learn to find the “length” of a stretch of a target muscle by using breathing, weights, and being patient.
  • Learn to “shorten” a muscles by using effort, weights, and being uncomfortable.