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Technique Tip: Penché Split

This week, we're putting the spotlight on the Penché split, with "Penché" being a French term for leaning or tilting. Whether done in dance class or mid-air on your apparatus, the Penché demands hip mobility, hamstring flexibility, and back extension.

If you're thinking, "Jill, I can't possibly pull off this skill - my splits are 'meh,'" or perhaps you're in the process of recovering from a hamstring injury, fear not! I've got an alternative option for you—one that's just as visually stunning!

Check out the video breakdown and tips below.


1) Invert into a straddle between the silks. Crochet one leg up & around the pole, sickle your foot for security. Use your free arm to place the free fabric behind you to avoid getting it tangled when you wrap your bottom leg (continue to hold the pole with your opposite hand).


2) Grab the tail with your bottom hand & wrap your free leg three times. Twice around your thigh & once around the front of your ankle to your arch. Straighten your wrapped leg & point it downward. Do not let go of the tail! If you do it's likely your wraps will slide down your leg.


3) Slide your bottom hand along the tail away from your foot to create slack (approx. 3-4 feet or 1 meter). Release your top hand from the pole & grab the free fabric that you placed behind you. Continue to slide your bottom hand up until the two fabrics meet.


4) Press your arms forward as you rotate your hips into your Penché. Lift your chest as you draw your shoulders back, lengthen your legs, reach out through your feet. If you find it difficult to straighten your arms place your hands slightly apart, it makes it easier.

5) To exit - Option #1 - turn your hips upward & hook your top knee. Reach up high on the free fabric, unhook your knee and quickly grab the pole. Unwind the 3 wraps. Option #2 - turn your hips upward and hook your knee. Reach up high on the free fabric & the pole, pull-up, and keep your knee hooked. Unwind the 3 wraps, press your hips forward & turn toward your hooked knee ending in 'thigh hitch'. Swim the tail behind you with your top arm and you're out!

Common Mistakes:

Mistake #1- Loose wraps - this will result in sliding and likely a foot burn.

Mistake #2 - Top foot slips - Yikes! You must maintain a sickled foot around the pole, especially when you're rotating your hips and chest. Once in Penché, you can lessen the sickle but still keep your foot firmly secured around the pole. Alternative Option:

In step 2, wrap 3 times around your thigh and bend your knee. Follow the other steps and when you get to step 4, rotate in your hips as you draw your knee toward your chest.


There you have it! Give it a try, and I'd love to see you in action! Tag me at @aerialphysique, and #iloveap. I can't wait to witness your skills and celebrate your impressive moves!

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