I have become extremely flexible within two months after changing my squats going totally down with slow negatives/aggressive up-down, it has improved my vertical split massively. Side oversplit looks like below but it can also be done on floor, by street dancers, by hockey goal-keepers, by dancers, by martial artists and so on. This question is not specific to any specific sport instead focus on flexibility and how to improve it. When I train for flexibility, glucosamine from seashell foods helps me to recover faster and making gains faster.

How can you improve horizontal splits?

enter image description here

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    I gathered to my Pinterest movements that may be useful in improving the flexibility: do not settle, it takes time for the body to remember the new movement :)
    – hhh
    Dec 7 '14 at 14:12
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    I would add that in addition to flexibility, relaxation during the technique is crucial as well. I can execute an axe kick at a much greater level than static splits would seem to allow.
    – JohnP
    Mar 23 '15 at 22:09
  • @JohnP Interesting and thank you for sharing the info, I had never thought that flexibility and relaxation can so powerful in martial arts. I added a video about axe kick to the board. I think a key is to relax the muscles behind the knee for the axe kick. I have noticed in running that I can increase tempo just by relaxing -- which also saves a lot of energy and keep HR low -- I haven't yet understood the phenomenon. Somehow the flexibility and shock endurance create your body act a bit like springs?
    – hhh
    Mar 24 '15 at 0:06
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    Mmm... more along the lines that if you can get the opposing muscles to relax, they aren't working against the stretch that you are trying to achieve. That's just as much a part of active flexibility as anything.
    – JohnP
    Mar 24 '15 at 0:18
  • While it relates to "regular" splits, you might also check the advice in fitness.stackexchange.com/a/14126/8039 Mar 24 '15 at 18:43

I am collecting here material and keywords related to this topic.

I understand horizontal split to require flexibilities such as hamstring flexibility and hip flexibility. I understand this answer so that the user recommends sumo squats to improve hip flexibility where back straight like below

enter image description here

by this video and this example does not target the hips that much

enter image description here

where the squatter targets more the lower back, quads and some people call this "bad form" but I see it as a form that will have extra stress on back and abs so you need to be very careful. If your goal is to get into horizontal split, you should try to sumo-squat more like the first squatter. The second activates far more the lower quads as you can see from the second picture. Wrong squat form will only make you frustrated so choose carefully, bad form caused by inflexibility for example in hips require time and patience -- to improve your active range of motion use variety of training: very light weight to get your range of motion to the limit and heavier weights to strengthen the muscles. My recommendation is to combine both trainings so you get support muscles at the same time as better range of motion. This will ensure that you avoid accidents caused by weak muscles and insane static range of motion. Support muscles are important part of healthy training.

By the below classification, the sumo squat can be done in multiple ways. Active stretching is where you hold the position 10-15 seconds. I cannot understand how the classification really works so I won't comment on it more. I used the word "active" earlier in the context of "range of motion" by which I did not refer to the "active stretching". I understand active so that you hold your position short time like 1-4 seconds while the word below in the context of "stretching" refers to longer time like 15 seconds.


  1. ballistic stretching
  2. dynamic stretching
  3. active stretching
  4. passive (or relaxed) stretching
  5. static stretching
  6. isometric stretching
  7. PNF stretching

by this source.

Perhaps relevant interests

  1. How do I increase flexibility to achieve a full split?

  2. Good exercises for higher side kicks

  3. Exercises to improve balance when kicking

  4. Safe training regime to work towards center and front splits


Look for PNF stretching, and maybe you can buy the book of Pavel Tsatsouline, Relax into Stretch.

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    Perhaps you can add an explanation of what PNF stretching is and why it would be better than regular stretching? I'd also add the cautions that go along with advanced stretching techniques such as PNF.
    – JohnP
    Mar 23 '15 at 22:07
  • Actually, I did not want to copy paste something, and I don't have any resources for it. At least I wanted to direct him/her to a direction.
    – Michael C.
    Mar 23 '15 at 22:08
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    Then it should probably be a comment instead.
    – JohnP
    Mar 23 '15 at 22:10
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PNF_stretching is a good place to start pulling references. :) Mar 24 '15 at 17:52

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