A split is a physical position in which the legs are in line with each other and extended in opposite directions.
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Splits are commonly performed in various athletic activities, including dance, figure skating, gymnastics, martial arts, contortionism, synchronized swimming, cheerleading and yoga.
Martial arts are codified systems and traditions of combat practices, which are practiced for a variety of reasons: as self-defense, military and law enforcement applications, mental and spiritual development; as well as entertainment and the preservation of a nation's intangible cultural heritage.
Synchronized swimming is a hybrid form of swimming, dance, and gymnastics, consisting of swimmers performing a synchronised routine of elaborate moves in the water, accompanied by music.
Cheerleading ranges from yelling to intense physical activity for sports team motivation, audience entertainment, or competition based upon organized routines.
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A person who has assumed a split position is said to be "in a split" or "doing the splits".
When executing a split, the lines defined by the inner thighs of the legs form an angle of approximately 180 degrees.
This large angle significantly stretches, and thus demonstrates excellent flexibility of, the hamstring and iliopsoas muscles.
In human anatomy, a hamstring is one of the three posterior thigh muscles.
The iliopsoas refers to the joined psoas and the iliacus muscles.
Consequently, splits are often used as a stretching exercise to warm up and enhance the flexibility of leg muscles.