So today I am going to share one of my favorite, favorite, favorite things to do when it comes to split jumps and leaps. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it will save you SO MUCH grief when it comes to split jumps and leaps. So most of us start doing splits with gymnasts pretty early, but when they can’t go all the way down what does their back leg do? Bend. Unless we start teaching them how to straighten their back leg in a split at the same time we start working splits, we can’t expect them to know how to do it down the line. That’s why I always have my gymnasts do “normal” splits and “straight leg” splits. Meaning I want both of their knees totally locked out. That way when we start working split leaps or jumps I can say “does your back leg feel like it does in your straight leg splits?” and they understand what I’m talking about.
As gymnasts gain more flexibility and their splits are closer to the floor I have them start lifting their chests. Once gymnasts can do splits on the floor with two completely locked out legs we take their straight leg splits to a panel mat. Like shown in the picture below. This will dramatically help your leaps and jumps and will only add about a minute to your warm-up time. DO IT.
Photo Credit: Ruth Judson
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