Stretches That Help You Kick Higher
Many dancers find that stretching the muscles and ligaments in their legs will help them achieve a higher kick. Many martial artists and sportsmen find that a higher kick often gives them an edge over their competitors. While it may take time to achieve this goal, stretches will certainly help increase flexibility.
Thomas Kurz, author of “Stretching Scientifically” suggests the Front Stretch. Beginning in a standing position, use your hand to stretch your leg out in front of you, extending it as far as possible. If you can, have a friend lift your leg and push it toward you while you’re in a standing position. This will help increase the flexibility in your legs and allow you to achieve a stable higher kick for dancing and gymnastics. However, Kurz does not recommend this for those who are looking to achieve a higher kick for karate and martial arts, as it doesn’t necessarily develop the muscles needed to kick an opponent with strength.
American Dance/Drill Team’s Debbie Byrd suggests standing a few inches away from the wall and leaning into it with a straight back while keeping your heels on the ground. This will stretch your Achilles tendon and calf muscles to help you achieve a higher kick. As you get more comfortable, pull further away from the wall to achieve an even deeper stretch.
Thomas Kurz, author of “Stretching Scientifically,” recommends that martial artists do what he calls “dynamic stretches” in order to increase range of motion. Kurz suggests 12 repetitions of controlled leg lifts to the front, side and back. This means lifting the leg slowly, and increasing height a few inches at a time. Kurz feels that suddenly kicking a leg too high does not provide the stability necessary to pack a powerful martial arts kick and doing so can cause injury.
Sit down on the floor or a yoga mat with your legs stretched out in front of you. Grab your ankles, or feet, if you’re able, and try and pull your body toward your legs. Ultimately, your nose should touch your knees. Hold this stretch for a few seconds before releasing and stretching once again. This exercise is recommended by Exercise.com and American Dance/Drill Team to increase flexibility in your hamstrings.