How to Do a Split Jump in Cheerleading
In cheerleading, perhaps the most common jump you'll perform is the toe touch, which is also sometimes called the split jump or straddle jump. While you don't have to be able to do the full straddle splits in order to do the jump, it certainly doesn't hurt. The more flexible your hips, the wider the split and the more dramatic the jump will look.
Warm up your muscles by jogging, cycling or doing some other type of aerobic exercise for five to 10 minutes. In order to do a split jump without pulling a muscle or ligament, you'll need to make sure you're properly warmed up.
Stretch your muscles by doing some dynamic stretching exercises that mimic the split jump. Kick each leg backward and then forward to stretch the hip flexors, and then kick your leg up and to the side, in the traditional cheerleading high kick. According to a study published in "The Sport Journal," dynamic stretching of this sort is better than static stretching, because it not only preps you for the exercise ahead, but also could also improves your overall flexibility. As such, be sure to include dynamic stretches into all of your stretching regimens.
Stand with your feet about hip distance apart. Your arms should be at your sides, slightly outward from the hips, with your hands in fists.
Raise your arms upward as you raise yourself onto your toes.
Cross your arms in front of your body, and then swing them upward into a "V" with force. As you swing the arms upward, explode upward with your legs, moving them first up, and then out into a straddle split just before you reach the crest of your jump. Rotate your hips backward to create more range of motion in your hips, and thus create a wider split. Your toes should be pointed. Reach out toward your toes with your hands in blades or fists, but resist the urge to flex the feet.
Snap the legs together after you reach the crest of your jump and are on your way back down. Move your arms down toward your sides, giving you more stability by pushing your momentum down toward the ground.
Bend your knees as you land, and then pop up into a standing position with your hands on your hips when the landing is accomplished.
If you've never done a split jump before, work with a cheer coach or another expert to ensure you're doing the jump safely and effectively.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.