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Technique Tip - Vertical Split

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

It's technique tip time! What do I have cookin' for ya this week ...?

Vertical Split! (now that I think about it ... it should probably be called Vertical Straddle ... hmmm 🤔).

It's a relatively known fact that whenever an artist performs the audience can't help but clap for pretty much anything split-related. Maybe you've heard the expression 'splits for claps'?

I have a theory about this ... the audience can relate if they can do a split or not ... the majority can't quite relate to a skill that requires intricate wraps, technique and loads of strength. To them, a split will always bring that WOW 🤩 factor!

To get into Vertical Split you'll need to pass through Arabesque first. Last week's technique tip breaks down how to utilize Flamenco Grip to do so. If you missed it click here to check it out.

Vertical Split is a lovely skill all by itself - eventually, there are more shapes and sequences you can add to it.

As with most splitty skills, Vertical Split requires a lot of hamstring and adductor mobility. Make sure you're warmed up prior to giving it a go!

See the video below for warm-up exercises and a step-by-step breakdown of the skill.

Warm-Up Exercises

- Lying Side Leg Kicks

- Standing Grand Battements to the side

- Middle Split

Common Mistakes

#1 Starting with hands too high & not pulling up enough

#2 Supporting leg bends

#3 Top foot doesn't sickle enough around the pole

Be sure to warm-up well and practice low!

Step-by-Step Instructions

1) From arabesque make sure that the silk is placed across your lower back, not your mid-back and definitely not your upper back near your armpits. Keeping your foot lock leg directly under your hip will help with correct placement.

2) Place both hands at head height on the pole of the silk. Pull up and as you simultaneously 'battement' your free leg to the side. When you lift your leg, make sure it's externally rotated. You can also pass through a straddle inversion, then meet your foot with the pole.

3) Once your foot meets the pole, it must not only point but slightly sickle to keep you safe. Your top foot is your main point of leverage. Press your hips forward and keep your bottom leg straight.

4) Only if you feel super secure reach one or both hands overhead.

5) To exit, place both hands on the pole above you. Carefully release your top foot and pass your shoulders around.

For more technique pointers and step-by-step tutorials for hundreds of skills,

give our Aerial Physique TV app a try!


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