Flexi-tize and strengthen those legs!
Since my post about stretching splits in three weeks has been so popular, I'm writing a follow-up.
Thanks to everyone who read the article and started getting those splits down! I'm very happy for all of you, and glad that you already have the splits. Thank you for everyone who commented, also. See, three weeks wasn't so long after all!
If you don't have the splits already, you should read the article posted above and work on them! Trust me, three weeks will zip by.
This article is mainly about how you can further improve your leg flexibility, get those kicks high, split when you're in the air, hold your leg to your nose, whatever it is, you can do it!
Flexibility is just step one to getting high kicks. Leg strength comes next. So many people have perfect splits, but low kicks. It doesn't make sense, but when you think about it, you're using different muscles and need strength.
For kick flexibility, stretch your splits vertically on a wall (doorways make it easiest for balance). This is your kick position, so it will help most.
For kick strength, keep kicking! Don't kill yourself, but practice some good kicks everyday. I'd recommend three sets a day of two eight-counts of high kicks (bounce, kick, bounce, etc.), meaning eight kicks each set (don't worry too much about staying in line, but do keep it in mind at this moment, just worry about getting your kicks up). Running also strengthens those leg muscles, so a short jog a day will really help. Encourage your team to jog daily (for at least ten minutes) to warm up. Of course, jogging right after school doesn't seem too enticing, but after a few minutes, it feels really nice. Building muscles in your thigh help keep your kicks high. Combining all your leg muscles help keep your legs straight.
Remember, remember, remember: do not hunch into your kicks. Sometimes when you bring your body into your kick it feels like it's higher because your face is closer to your knee, but it gives you bad posture and does not elevate your kicks.
I've heard that stretching in the pool or in a warm bath might help, but I've never tried this myself. If you're interested, you could try it out (tell me how it goes!).
This is just a general article about leg strength. If you are truly interested, I will be posting a follow-up to this one including a specific schedule/strengthening routine that you can use to help you out.