The Cheerleading Source Posting Page
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Contrary to popular belief, anyone can learn to do the splits, it's just a matter of being dedicated to training your body to be flexible so you avoid injury when you do the splits.
It might be that some people are just more naturally limber in the leg area than other people; but more likely it is probably the fact that some people are more dedicated to doing stretching exercises and practicing their splits moves than others. One move you'll see many cheerleaders make when they are learning the splits is to bounce into them when they are stretching, believe it causes the muscle to actually stretch a little more. What it can actually do is tear the muscle away and cause serious injury. Avoid bouncing when you're stretching.
Before you start your training to master the splits, you need to get your body as limber as possible. Some coaches advise taking a warm bath before you try moves that involve a lot of stretching of muscles and many cheerleaders claim this method works; however the most important thing is to actually warm up your muscles before you put them through the rigorous process of training to stretch. If you work your muscles "cold" you can cause yourself an injury such as a muscle tear; that will take a long time to heal and put you very behind on your training - additionally, you may not be able to move as flexibly as before an injury. It's worth it to err on the side of safety and spend ten to fifteen minutes just stretching your muscles.
One move that will help you master the splits quickly is the pike. You sit on the floor (preferably on a mat) and have your legs straight out in front of you, together and toes pointed forward. Then lean forward slowly and attempt to get your nose as closely as possible to your knees and hold the pose for 30 seconds. It's okay if you can't get your nose to your knees the first try - keep practicing.
Then, while still forward in the pike with your nose as close to the floor as possible; flex your feet in and out of the pointed position. Then spread your legs into a wide "V" stretch try to get your elbows as closely as possible to the floor. Hold this position for about 30 seconds. While in the same straddle position, reach your hands out as far as possible on each side of yourself and get your nose as close as possible to the floor; hold that position for 30 seconds.
Slowly bring yourself up - never jerk your body around when you're stretching; and place your left leg in front of your body and the other leg is tucked under your body. You will be in a lunge position and you need to try to get your nose as close as possible to your knee. Hold this position for 30 seconds. Then repeat this move on the other side.
Practice these positions every day and soon you will find you're actually doing the splits and doing them correctly!
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