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Given time, proper training, and the wish to succeed, would anyone be able someday to do a 180 degree split? Or are people out there that for some reason would never be able to do it, no matter how much effort they invest in it?

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Tom Kurz says it's a misconception that most people are physically incapable of training up to a full side split:

There are simple tests that show you that for the great majority of people the structure of joints and the length of ligaments are not the obstacle for doing splits. You can use these test to determine if you have the potential to do front and side splits before you start your stretching program. (Yes, there are people who cannot do side splits because of hip joint deformity called coxa vara.)

Here is the side split test: Stand beside a chair or table and put your leg on it as shown below. Make sure that both your hips and your raised leg are all in one line. Repeat this test with your other leg.

Test of Flexibility Potential: Side Split Test

If you think that the length of your muscles and structure of your hips will not let you do side splits, try this test… The leg resting on the chair is in the position it would have in a split

Now, what have you done? You have done “half side splits” with both your legs!

You have proved to yourself that both your hip joints have all the mobility (range of motion) needed for a full side split! You have also proved that the muscles of each of your legs are already long enough for a side split. You know that no muscle or ligament runs from one inner thigh to the other (or, if you don’t know it, you can ask your doctor). So, what keeps you from doing the whole side split with both legs spread sideways at the same time? Your nervous system, that’s what!

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    How can I assure that the hip isn't moving to support the one-sided stretching? – Baarn Sep 30 '13 at 14:26
  • @Baarn By enforcing good hip posture and checking for a 90-degree-or-more angle between legs, I would think. – Dave Liepmann Sep 30 '13 at 14:32
  • How do I train to do the full split, after I pass the above test? Or should I ask this another question? I stretch everyday but unable to the split. – Freakyuser Oct 1 '13 at 6:04
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    @Freakyuser Another question would be good. I think questions already exist, but they're not very comprehensive: fitness.stackexchange.com/questions/12999/… – Dave Liepmann Oct 1 '13 at 6:40
  • Thomas Kurz is wrong on this one. Everyone who can't do the splits cheats by tilting their pelvis in the one legged "test". A few degrees of tilt makes a big difference at the ankle but is unnoticeable at the hip. The nervous system can be tricked into a few additional degrees of mobility, but it is definitely not the only limitation for flexibility. – BKE Feb 27 '18 at 22:56
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Yes everyone can eventually learn to do the splits. Most people weren’t born flexible (like me) but I can do the splits on both legs. You just have to put some effort into stretching and try every day. Unless you’re naturally flexible, most likely you won’t get the splits in one day. It might take weeks. Remember take stretching slow. Don’t force yourself down because you might get injured. Also don’t hold a stretch for more than 30 seconds.

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  • Can you give some corroborating evidence for the injury claim, and the time restriction? – JohnP Feb 28 '18 at 14:37
  • Actually, almost everyone is born flexible. Most people in a society like America's however quickly grow out of that and lose that initial flexibility that we had from the start. We are taught bad habits and don't do anything to preserve it. – JustSnilloc Feb 28 '18 at 18:35
  • @JustSnilloc everyone is also born without the ability to walk, for example. – BKE Mar 1 '18 at 13:13
  • @BKE that’s not true. Babies almost certainly have the ability, they just lack the muscles and skill to do so unaided. I fail to see what that has to do with being born flexible though. – JustSnilloc Mar 1 '18 at 14:19
  • I've found that up to about 90 seconds of pushing splits works out ok; the one time I went to 120 seconds each I was left practically crippled for a week. I've taken to doing a set of poses that alternates legs being stretched for 60 seconds each, before practicing each full split for 60 seconds. That works fine. – SilverbackNet Jul 23 at 21:38
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I think it is extremely difficult for some people to the point it's not possible. Personally for me I believe it would be near impossible for me to do the front splits despite being able to do side splits. The curvature of my spine doesn't allow for the stretches needed to practice and perform the front splits. it depends if your spine is naturally more suited to flexion or extension (the shape of your spine being suited to bend back or forward). if your back isn't suited for it then it has to bend in the weak position twice as much as normal and depending on the angle of your hips it may not be feasible.

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