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Anatomy of a Jade Split

Updated: 6 days ago

Welcome back to another tasty pole anatomy treat by The Pole Physio team, where we take your favourite pole dance tricks and break them down to their fundamental anatomy and biomechanics. Sprinkle in trick specific cues and both on and off the pole conditioning and you have yourself a delightful little anatomy series.


Anatomy of a Jade Split in Pole Dance

And today’s blog is a real treat for y’all because we are breaking down everyone’s favourite pole split: the Jade Split. Once you learn it, it becomes a staple move and is still an absolute crowd pleaser. Because above all else, we know a crowd loves… SPLITS!


Now do you know the history of the Jade Split and how it was created? Well strap in because it sure is one hell of a story!


Back in my day...


The creation of the Jade

Did you know that the No Hand Jade Split (aka the Deville split) was actually created before the hand on hip Jade Split and it was created by OG pole dancer Pantera Blacksmith who started pole dancing in 1999. Pantera went on to form an incredible name for herself as one of the OGs of the industry, releasing some of the first ever pole tricks DVDs and introducing the flying pole to the world. In fact Pantera is the creator of most of the core moves that we know and love today: inside leg hang, outside leg hang, side climbs, shoulder mounts, caterpillar climbs, ayeshas, brass monkeys and... now you know - the Deville/no hands jade split! She even created what we think is one of the coolest moves ever.. the death lay!


Creator of the No Hands Jade/Deville Split Pantera Blacksmith

Considering the pole tricks that Pantera has created have already and will continue to last the test of time, we want to ensure that Pantera is recognised within our community as the OG Deville/Jade creator, but also thank her for shaping the world of pole as we know it. So that's how the Deville was created, but what about the Jade split and how the name came about?


The naming

Well picture this, it's the early 2000s. Pole dancing is the new kid on the fitness block and OG pole dancers/strippers are teaching this form of ‘fun fitness’ at local strip clubs, allowing for a blend of the two worlds of strip and exercise. Bobbi's then becomes the first Australian pole studio to open their doors in 2004. Bobbi & co have a genius idea at the time to create what would become one of Australia’s most well known and revered pole dance competitions - Miss Pole Dance Australia. Through this competition, many pole icons were born, but none other than Jamilla, the first ever Miss Pole Dance Australia winner in 2005. Now, that name might sound familiar to you because Jamilla pioneered some of our favourite go-to pole dance tricks, including the Jamilla.


So how did the Jade and Deville get their names? Well, at the time of her MPDA win, Jamilla debuted a Deville split aka a no hands Jade split, a move that hadn’t been seen before in Australia. This is a move that Jamilla became incredibly well known for, along with the hands on hip Jade Split. In a time where tricks were multiplying in numbers and Bobbis were releasing DVDs of pole tricks to the world to help pole dancers learn at home, they needed names for the tricks. So each Bobbis instructor had a move named after them in the video. There was a Bobbi, Vanessa, Deville, Candice and even a Maxi (named after Maxi Shield as it was his favourite move!). And we are sure there were more that we’ve missed too! Most of these tricks have since gone on to be re-named by the wider pole community.


So when it came to naming the Deville in the Bobbis DVD, it made sense at the time to name it after Jamilla as she popularised it in Australia, and hence the Deville was born. But how did the Jade split get it’s name. Who even is Jade?!? Well the Jade split is a derivative of the Deville split that Jamilla performed and was not actually named after a person called Jade! It was actually in fact derived from the first two letters in Jamilla’s first and last name (JAmilla DEville). Mind blowing, right? So this is the story of how the Jade and Deville Splits got their names! Absolutely fascinating! So strange to think the harder move aka the Deville was created first!


The Modern Day Jade

Now what’s incredible about the Jade split is that it’s stood the test of time. It’s still every showgirl’s go to favourite splitty pole move and you can understand why.


Jade Split Chilli Tattoo

So to wrap up the Jade’s history, we thought we’d leave you with a few fun facts - Chilli Rox, Australia’s favourite showgirl/pole comp emcee is well known for her love of the Jade split. So much so that even one of her students has a tattoo of a chilli in a Jade split on her thigh! And Bethany Finlay (one of Australia's professional pole dancers) has the same tattoo in honour of Chilli! How’s that for passion and dedication! Beth was tatted first from memory!


Ok well that’s enough of the fun random facts. Now that we’ve brushed up your history, let’s talk about the ins & outs of a Jade split.


Entry and Pre-Requisite Screening Requirements of a Jade Split

Now before we get into our Jade split we want to ensure we’re strong and safe to do so. The pre-requisite pole moves to enter this position are as follows:


  • Straddle

  • Outside Leg hang

  • Leg switch

  • Inside Leg hang

  • Pike/hip hold


It may surprise you to hear that we don’t actually require a front split to get into a Jade split. Whilst being flexible sure does help, it’s definitely not needed. And that’s because our Jade split isn’t actually a true split. But more on this later!




Gripping Points

Gripping points are always important in any move, but particularly in a Jade split otherwise we’ll find ourselves sliding down to the floor. In our Jade split our key gripping points are our:

  • Waist

  • Armpit/back of shoulder

  • Inner thigh of the front leg



The Jade split often can feel tricky when starting out as there is no hand grip on the pole. Instead of gripping by hand, we require a strong press of both the thigh and arm into the pole, as well as good waist grip assisted by dropping the back leg and hip down to the floor. Let’s talk through key teaching points of a Jade split now.


Teaching Points

When it comes to teaching (or learning) a Jade split, cueing is important. Follow along with the video below to refer to our favourite cues for a Jade split:

  1. In an outside leg hang sweep the inside leg around the pole and using your outside hand on the ankle pull the leg firmly across the body.

  2. The pole should be positioned into the waist and this top leg positioned into internal rotation and adduction.

  3. Allow for a side bend (lateral flexion) of the spine to begin the process of creating the illusion of a split line

  4. Place your inside hand on your pelvis/booty with the fingers pointing towards the feet

  5. Press the inside elbow inwards towards the pole and firmly keep this hold throughout the move

  6. Keep an open chest and extended spine

  7. Maintain active pressure into the pole through the thigh and elbow whilst slowly taking the free leg behind the body into extension. We encourage polers to start with a bent knee and toes to the floor before slowly straightening the leg

  8. Ensure you are focusing on extension of the back leg through active quad and hip engagement

  9. Let your outer hip drop by extending, abducting and externally rotating it so the knee is pointing out to the side

  10. Safely exit by returning to a leg hang of your choice. We opt for an outside leg hang when first learning




Anatomy Specifics

So now we know how to Jade split, what exactly is involved in it? Well, my friend, there’s a fair bit of muscle strength that’s for sure! Let us do what we do best and break this move down into sections. Usually we like to break the anatomy down to specific movements, however for a Jade split it feels more natural for us to break this down into body parts, so here goes!  

Anatomy of a Jade Split - Complete

Front Leg

When setting up for our Jade split, the first thing we do is sweep our inside leg around the pole into a pike/hip hold position. Before we hold our leg in place with our hand, we actively utilise the strength of our hip flexors (iliopsoas and quadriceps) to bring the leg into place and we primarily rely on our adductors, accompanied by our gluteus minimus, gluteus medius and tensor fascia latae to adduct and internally rotate the hip across the body and into the pole.

Anatomy of a Jade Split - Inside/Front Leg

This adduction and internal rotation are key to making us look flexier than we actually are and our gluteals/external rotators and hamstrings (medial>lateral) are lengthened. Our hand passively assists in this motion by continuing to adduct the leg into the pole.


In this position it’s also the role of the quadriceps to maintain active tension through the leg and keep it straight whilst our gastrocnemius and soleus are the primary muscles utilised in pointing the foot.


Inside Arm

Once we’re comfortably set up in our hip hold the next step is to set up the arm to ensure we have a safe gripping point. We do this by placing the inside hand on our inside pelvis/hip or as Mischka likes to say ‘put your hand under your hip so you’re serving your booty on a platter’. The key thing to note is the hand is not just sitting there pretty. It’s actively creating a shelf for the hip and supporting the inside hip so we can later take it into extension.


Anatomy of a Jade Split - Spine & Upper Limb

Our wrist flexors and biceps are placed under load here and are isometrically working to support our weight along with the pushing muscles of the shoulder such as pectoralis major, triceps, pectoralis minor and serratus anterior.


But that’s not all! A key movement of the inside arm in this position is adduction. That’s right! We’re not just adducting the inside leg, but we’re also adducting the inside arm utilising our lats, ensuring a strong and safe gripping point onto the pole. Later when students have a strong Jade split that can look to remove this grip and work towards a Deville split, a.k.a a no hand Jade split.


Spine and Pelvis

So, we’ve set our leg and our arm up, but it would be amiss of us to not talk about what’s happening at the spine and pelvis. As briefly touched on, our Jade split is not actually a true closed split, it is open in nature. And it’s actually a very twisted split.


Anatomy of a Jade Split - Lateral Flexion

In fact, this is one of the key tips we need to utilise to give the impression of a flat Jade split – wrap our body sideways around the pole. It’s this lateral flexion of the spine that allows us to stay in place and create the split illusion. Check out the aerial picture that slows just how much side bending is used in a Jade split! Amazing right? The muscles responsible for this feat are our quadratus lumborum and our obliques.


The other thing that’s quite key and helpful in our Jade split is an anterior pelvic tilt. By allowing our hips to drop, our spine will extend and there will be less stretch on our back leg hip flexors and more felt in the abdominals instead (yes they work to stabilise too!). So, allow your paraspinals and abs to work here for you!


Back Leg

Anatomy of a Jade Split - Outside/Back Leg

And lastly it wouldn’t be split unless the back leg was also doing its thing! So, for our Jade split to be successful, we require strong engagement through both our gluteals (maximus and medius) and hamstring muscles to pull the hip into extension.


Our hip is also slightly position in hip external rotation and hip adduction so power to our gluteus maximus, medius and stabilisers of the hip (piriformis, obturator externus, obturator internus, gemilli) that help to create our long illusion lines. When a muscle is being contracted another muscle is being lengthened, so for our back leg we find the hip flexors (iliopsoas and quadriceps) are being lengthened along with our inner thigh adductor muscles.

 

Jade split? Or more like dorito split??

Nom nom – we looove doritos (#notasponsad) but most of the time we don’t love a dorito split. We all want to look long and flexy so it’s natural to feel frustrated when you find your Jade split looking like an acute angle instead of a flat line. But remember you don’t need front split touch down to look splitty in this move. You can still achieve a really amazing looking split without a front split because technically a Jade split isn’t a true front split.

It's all a splitty illusion! Well maybe not all. But a fair amount of it is. There’s a bit of secret squirrel magic that we can use to help all pole dancers look long flat and luscious in their Jade split. So, here’s our hot tips to help you out:


  1. It will feel weird and wrong when you’re first doing it, but side bend. Really get your body laterally around the pole

  2. Arch your lower back and anteriorly tilt your pelvis. Back extension will take some pressure off the back leg hip flexors allowing you to access deeper range

  3. Open your split! Internally rotate your front leg and externally rotate/abduct your back leg. An open split is often more comfortable and accessible for our bodies

 


Baby’s first Jade

Now when we’re starting out it’s nice to take things slow and feel safe. Which is why we love a baby Jade. When executed well it can look just as beautiful as a Jade without the same flexy pressure. Check out where it looks like here:

 


Devil or Deville?

And once you’ve mastered your Jade we can also step it up with a no hand Jade. The same requirements of a Jade split are needed here except we’re now using one less grip point – no arm! This is a great variation to work towards.


(video coming soon - check back in a day!)

 

Choker Jade

And we want to share one more variation of a Jade split with you all, and that’s a choker Jade. Why the name? Well, the move is effectively a Jade split in a choker neck hold. Now this trick can be incredibly dangerous when performed too soon which is why we wanted to make note of it. As expected, there is a choking hazard that can occurs from compression of the trachea and carotid artery by reaching the inside arm across the neck to the pole. If you have are having trouble breathing or actually experiencing choking then then you are not doing the move right. Despite the name this trick should not physically choke you.


This a high advanced/elite skill and should not be attempted by students that are not highly skilled in their Jade split or by students that have any medical conditions that affect may their breathing (i.e diagnosed lung or throat conditions including asthma) or their cardiovascular system. Please note there is a risk of carotid artery dissection here via compression which can lead to serious medical consequences so this move should be performed with extreme caution. If ever you’re unsure about your medical status, then you should be assessed by your general practitioner/doctor before continuing pole or attempting a move.


Mischka has demonstrated this move for you all below:

 

(coming soon - check back in a day!)


And just like that, that’s everything you need to know about your Jade split!


If you’re struggling to make progress on any of your nemesis moves, then make sure you touch base with our rehab and strengthening team.

 

Online telehealth appointments can be booked with the Pole Physio via our ‘Book Online’ page that can be found here. Assessment and tailored rehabilitation are provided in accordance with best practice and evidence-based treatment to help you unleash your 'poletential'.


Until next time, train safe.

 

The Pole Physio


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  • A jade split should ONLY be undertaken if your instructor has deemed you ready to work on this trick. This information is general advice only and we are not liable for any injuries that may occur during training.

  • This page has been created to provide wonderful knowledge with the pole community and sharing of this page to pole friends and pole related Facebook groups is actively encouraged.

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