Side Splits for Higher Martial Arts Kicks
Martial artists often practice side splits where their legs are fully extended to the left and right of the body. This technique is often used in order to achieve higher kicks that involve lateral movement (i.e. a high roundhouse kick to an opponent’s head). Side splits should not be confused with front or forward splits. Front splits are often used to achieve higher vertical kicks such as the axe kick.
Many martial artists have trouble with side splits and can only spread their legs in a narrow V shape (versus fully extending their legs). Therefore, martial artists use a variety of stretches to slowly progress towards wider side splits (see below). Some martial artists also use leg stretching devices in order to achieve wider side splits.
All stretches and exercises should be supervised by a trained martial arts instructor in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the proper technique is utilized. For additional information on stretches and flexibility training, please visit the Stretching sections.
Stretches & Exercises for Side Splits
- Leg Stretching Devices
- Partner Assisted Leg Splits
- Seated Straddle Splits with Wall Assist
- Seated Straddle Stretch
- Wall Splits
- Yoga’s Frog Pose – This yoga stretch is used to widen a martial artist’s hip & side split flexibility.
Seated Straddle Stretch