Flexibility can be just as important as strength for many sports such as gymnastics, kickboxing, cheerleading, and even football. The more flexibility we have, the more range of motion we have and movement in the body. Here are some great stretching exercises you can do to increase your ability to do the splits.

There are several directions for being able to do the splits. There are the Chinese splits, which are straight down the middle with both legs on either side. There is also a cheerleading split, which is with one leg in front and one leg behind. Some people will find they have more flexibility on one side rather than the other. When you are doing a cheerleading split, you want to make sure your hips are squared off. You should also be able to reach down with your hands and touch your front toe, or place your chest to your front knee.

So, there are several ways to get your Chinese splits. Make sure you are warmed up. The best time to gain flexibility is at the end of your work out when your muscles are really warmed up. Sitting on the floor place both of your legs out to either side of you. Walk your hands forward reaching out with your finger tips as far as you can. The most important aspect of this is your lower back. You want to press your lower back to the floor as best you can. The other key trick is 'both cheeks on the floor'. Make sure both butt cheeks stay on the floor. The minute one of them lifts, you are cheating the stretch. Now walk your hands to your right knee and hold that for a bit, keeping both cheeks on the floor, and pay attention to your lower back. Now, walk your way to your left knee keeping all of the form in mind.

A stretch for the cheerleading splits is to lay on your back. Keep your right leg straight out on the floor. Pick your left leg up and pull your knee into your chest. Keeping your right leg on the floor, straighten out your left leg pulling it towards your face. Try to keep both knees as straight as you can without completely locking them out. Now, if you can grab your ankle, pull your leg to your side near your head. Bring your knee back into your chest with your knee bent. Place your leg on the floor and repeat the process with the other leg.

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Who is Paul Zaichik?
Paul Zaichik is an Exercise Science Expert, author of multitude of books, and the creator of Zaichik Stretching Technique (formely known as Kinesiological Stretching Technique). His speciality is flexibility training as well as body weight conditioning. His innovative method is designed to have maximum carry over into specific athletic techniques. Paul is the author of books and DVD’s on the topic of flexibility, martial arts and bodyweight training.
Over the years, Paul Zaichik has worked with a variety of individuals including athletes, entertainers, and military personnel. His ElasticSteel Method of Athletic Conditioning programs are used world wide by both professional and amateurs with great success.