Hips That Can’t Do Middle Splits?

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Woman in orange sweater doing a split - Hips That Can't Do Middle Splits?

The middle splits, as they are known in dance and yoga, are performed by stretching the legs outwards on either side of the torso. This is why they are also sometimes known as straddle splits, side splits, or center splits (with slight differences between them).

Some people’s bone structure of the pelvis and femur leg bone does not allow or makes it exceedingly difficult to achieve the range of motion required for performing the middle splits.

Keep reading to learn more about why you may not be able to perform the middle splits, exercises that can improve your flexibility, and more.


Why Does it Happen?

Medical research suggests that some people may struggle or find it impossible to perform certain movements because of the way their bones are organized, thanks to genetics.

To perform middle splits, or any splits for that matter requires a great range of motion. The range of motion can be increased by modifying how you do the pose as well as regular stretching.

However, the anatomy of the hip’s ball-and-socket synovial joint between the femoral head and the pelvis may not physically allow your legs to twist or rotate in the desired way.


Can You Fix It With Long-term Exercises?

While it is possible to increase your flexibility and range of motion with regular, safe practice, if you happen to have an uncooperative bone structure, you may never be able to perform the middle splits.

It should be noted, however, that people who struggle with performing the side splits may still be able to perform the middle splits. The difference between the two is that the torso is usually kept upright while the middle split tilts the pelvis, and the upper body, forwards.

This simple difference can make a physical difference, allowing you to rotate and extend the legs past where they would usually be stopped.


Is Middle Splits Possible for Everyone?

It is more likely that anyone can do the middle splits than other types of splits, thanks to the forward pelvic tilt that increases the range of motion. That being said, some people may still be unable to perform the middle splits through things like lack of discipline.

Without consistent stretching and training, your flexibility can decrease, which will make it difficult and unsafe to attempt the middle splits.

People who are overweight or obese may also experience greater difficulty when attempting to do any kind of splits, including the middle splits, but it is not necessarily impossible.


What Can Exercises Help You?

Exercises and stretches that focus on improving hip and leg flexibility are key when you are aiming to perform the middle splits. Below are just a few examples of exercises you can work into a routine that will help when done right:


  • Pigeon yoga pose
  • Kneeling Hip Flexors
  • Half Kneeling Splits
  • Butterfly Stretches


You should be aware that some of these exercises are static, meaning you hold the position for a set time.

While this can help lengthen ligaments and such, it is not a good idea to rely on static stretches when the muscles are not warmed up. These kinds of stretches should be done after other workouts. Instead, try to perform dynamic stretches that help lubricate joints.


Is it Dangerous for Your Hips?

It can be dangerous for your hips and legs to attempt any form of splits without the proper training and when anatomy simply does not allow for that motion.

If you try to force the issue, you could be looking at pretty severe injuries such as torn muscles and ligaments or even hip dislocation.

These injuries are painful, but the recovery process can also be very long and expensive, with trips to the hospital and multiple physical therapy sessions.

However, when done correctly, the middle splits can be good for things like increasing your range of motion, and many people recommend trying it to improve your form in other exercises like running.


Final Thoughts on Hips That Can’T Do Middle Splits

If you’ve tried to do the side splits and find that you just can’t quite achieve the full stretch, try shifting your pelvis forward and bringing the upper body parallel with the floor.

This small change is, effectively, the middle splits and allows more people to perform the splits despite bone structure.

Suppose you still cannot perform the middle splits, or any other split, after regular training and proper form. In that case, you may simply have incompatible hips and femurs for this feat of flexibility. It is best not to push yourself so that you avoid any injuries.