Lift donít kick! Ė This is how I get my heel stretch.

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Published: 18th November 2010
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Lift donít kick! Ė This is how I get my heel stretch.

First thing to work are splits to get the required flexibility. Work left leg splits for your heel stretch (also work your right leg; this will help your back stretches). Start on a flat floor, ensuring your back leg is turned under and straight, your chest is turned forwards and toes are pointed. Keep working this until you are flat on the floor and can sit without using your arms. Work putting your right hand on your left knee and vice versa to keep your hips square.

Once this is achieved, put your front foot on some built up some cushions (or a beam if you have access to one) and repeat the same thing. You can also put your back leg up in the same way, but ensure the raised surface is above your knee to prevent you putting pressure on it. Keep increasing the height as your flexibility increases. The same thing and be done with box/side splits, just ensure your bum is always in line with your feet.

Leaning forward and grabbing your foot while in splits will stretch further, leaning back towards your back foot will help flexibility in your back for your scorpion.

Most people this you kick up a heel stretch Ė wrong. You must LIFT it, as kicking is uncontrolled and you will more than likely miss your foot. There are drills to help you build up the required muscles for this; Stand with your right hand on a wall or surface for balance and your left leg pointed in front. Lift using your thigh muscles as high as you can and return to the same place, lift at a moderate place or slower if you want a stronger workout. Do not swing your leg behind you. Do 20 reps, increase this and the height of your kick as your muscles build up. Do this also to the side (helping your toe touches) and behind (helping your arabesque).

When you can lift your leg to at least 90 degrees, you can do an advanced leg lift. Start in the same position as before and lift your leg as high as you can. Do small bounces with your leg, keeping at that level. Start with 30 reps, again increasing reps and height as your muscles build up. Keep your bottom leg locked at all times as it would be in a stunt.

Practicing doing a heel stretch on the floor will also help majorly. Key points are to keep your knee locked out on your base leg at all times, lock your base ankle (by rolling your toes under), keep your heel stretch to the front not the side, point your toes on your left leg, chest up and grab in the arch of your foot. If you canít grab that far yet, grab your calf instead, keeping your chest up and work up your flexibility until you can grab your foot. Practice in front of a mirror so you can look out for these things.
When doing your heel stretch in a stunt, use the same action as your leg lifts, keeping your body still and your bum in. Not doing this will offset your centre of gravity in your stunt. Lift up from your shoulders and be confident. Donít balance yourself; let your bases get underneath you if you wobble.

Remember to do all exercises on both sides to evenly build up your muscles & flexibility! Happy heel stretching :)

By Leigh Steers, Rising Stars

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