One of the most difficult cheerleading moves to master is the splits. But with enough practice and determination, any cheerleader can perfect this dazzling display of flexibility. When undertaking the task of cheerleading splits always make sure to stretch your legs adequately before attempting the move to reduce the risk of injury.
Splitting the Splits into Three Stretches
A good stretch to start out before attempting the cheerleading splits is the pike stretch. To perform the pike sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of your. Your body should be in an “L” shape. Point your toes and slowly lean forward, curling your abdominal muscles with your face pointed down towards your knees. Try to get your nose as close to your knees as possible. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds then flex your feet before slowly sitting up, resuming the beginning position of the stretch.
The next stretch for perfecting the cheerleading splits is the wide straddle. From a sitting position, spread your legs as far apart as you can comfortably and begin reclining forward like in the pike stretch. Hold the stretch for thirty seconds while attempting to balance your elbows on the floor in the space between your legs. Next, reach your hands out and try to flatten them on the floor while getting your nose as close to the floor as possible. Hold this variation for thirty seconds as well before slowly sitting back up.
Make sure in your center split, your knees are pointed to the ceiling and your toes are pointed. Also, try to rest on your elbows in order to get a full stretch. Another stretch I recommend is the "froggy". This is a great stretch to sit in while watching television, doing homework, etc. To do these, lay on your stomach on the floor, and bend your knees behind you so your feet are facing inward, like a frog's legs. You should be resting on your knees. Slide down as far as you can, and rest on your elbows as well. Basically, this is like sitting in a center split without using your lower legs. This will help build up the muscle in your upper legs, including your quadriceps.
Finally, leg lunges are another great stretch to get the body ready for the cheerleading splits. To begin, place one leg in front and bend it so that the knee joint forms a ninety degree angle. Place the rear knee on the floor and hold for thirty second. Next, straighten the front leg and sit back, bringing your face towards your front leg. You should be able to place your nose on your knee. Hold this for thirty seconds and repeat with the opposite leg.
Steady as She Goes
Try performing these three stretches twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. After a few weeks of this routine, you’ll be amazed at the improvement to your flexibility. Once you’ve mastered these three basic stretches, it’s time to attempt the splits. Never push yourself too far when attempting the splits as that causes injury. Ease into it and hold for one full minute before easing out. Rest for thirty seconds and try again, holding for thirty more seconds.
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