Cheerleading Splits Stretches

Practice makes perfect when doing the splits.

One of the more popular questions about cheerleading try outs is whether or not it's absolutely necessary to do the splits. The answer is unequivocally, yes. Being able to do the splits and side splits (splits in a "toe touch" position) are considered basic cheerleading skills and need to be mastered well before the big try out day. This is important because even if you're one of those people who happens to be blessed with especially flexible legs, your legs must be conditioned to do the splits or you will risk injury.

Stretches to Increase Flexibility

Pike Stretch

When you're trying to learn how to do the splits, the best place to begin is where you already are. You will be more successful if you stretch your legs out first in positions that do not require the splits. Begin with a full stretching routine focusing especially on the pike position and the toe touch position.

Pike Position Stretch

  1. Sit straight up on the floor with your feet straight out in front of you.
  2. Your legs should be together and with your back straight, work on bending over to touch your toes.
  3. Once you can touch your toes in this position, try touching your nose to your knees.
  4. Do this pike stretch twice a day, and make sure to do this position both with your toes pointed, and flexed up.

Toe Touch Stretch

side splits

This stretch is frequently called "side splits" or "front splits." When you are fully flexible in this position, you'll be able to put your legs out to either side like you were doing a toe touch jump, and then touch your nose to the floor in front of you.

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs extended as far as you can extend them to the left and the right.
  2. Lean forward as far as you can, and hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds.
  3. Sit up and reach both arms toward your right leg as far as you can, and hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat on the left side.

Static Butterfly Stretch

static butterfly stretch
  1. Sit on the ground with your feet together and your ankles drawn in toward your groin. Your outer thighs should rest against the floor.
  2. Grab your ankles with your hands, and use your elbows to press your knees toward the ground.
  3. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds while leaning as far forward as you can.

Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

lunge
  1. Kneel on the ground as though you were proposing to someone - one knee on the ground and the other bent at a 90-degree angle in front of your body.
  2. Place both hands on the thigh of your raised leg, and while keeping your torso upright, shift your weight forward until you feel a stretch down the front of your back leg.
  3. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds before switching legs.

Seated 'Reverse Lunge' Stretch

seated reverse lunge
  1. Sit on the floor with your legs spread apart in the 'toe touch' position.
  2. Bend one leg inwards.
  3. Lean over gently until your ear touches your knee, or go as far as you can go.
  4. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds before switching legs.

Doing the Splits

Before trying to do the splits, make sure you can fully stretch with your nose to your knee and/or ground in both the pike and toe touch or "side splits" positions. Once you've mastered these stretches, stretch a little bit each day and in no time you'll be ready for try outs with picture perfect splits! Remember to practice daily, even after you've mastered the stretches and split position. This helps prevent injuries by keeping your muscles limber and flexible.

Cheerleading Splits Stretches