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How To Do A Split Leap [Steps And Exercises To Help You Improve]

split leap

Let me start by saying, if your passion and love for gymnastics brought you to read this article, you are going to manage to do a remarkable split leap. Where there is a will, there is a way, is the motto you should live by as a gymnast. You have all of what it takes to perform the skill, as I always say, all you need is a little practice and a push.

I’m going to try and do my part the best by delivering both to you. There could be multiple reasons why you might find yourself being unable to perform a split leap. I’m going to go over all of them, helping you identify where exactly the drawback is. As a gymnast myself, I found it easier to identify where the error was having broken down the skill into several steps. 


What is a split leap?

Split leaps are one of the few skills in gymnastics that are improvised along with the increasing levels. By looking at it being performed, one might think it doesn’t require as much effort as the other skills, but there is little truth in that statement.

Similar to a back walkover, it is a product of several skills in a nutshell. To perform a neat and decent split leap, you are required to have mastered doing a split. As a beginner in level three, you will be required to do a split leap with an angle of 90 degrees. 

As the levels go up, so will the angles in a split leap till level six, in which you will learn to perfect a split leap with an angle of 180 degrees. If you are currently a gymnast of a primary level, I suggest you develop a strong grip over the skill. It is going to help you in numerous ways presently as well as once you progress into secondary gymnastic levels. If nothing else you may introduce it as a bonus skill set in your advanced routines. You can thank me later! 

How difficult is a split leap?

First and foremost, you may begin doing your split leap with either a ‘step’ or a ‘chasse’. The major difference that stands between the two is how the skill is presented.

Once you are in, raise your hands above your head (similar to how it is done in a handstand) and put your preferred leg forward on your toes.

Start with giving yourself a boost and launching into a small leap. You don't need to jump right into a split. Having done a small leap at first is going to help you identify the difference between the two better.

Afterward, you are going to need to try and do a full split leap into the air. While performing the skill set, make sure you maintain the body posture you had at the beginning, e.g. raising your hands in the air is going to help you push off the ground and maintain a higher height.

To give your split leap a graceful finale, you are going to need to land with the same posture as when you started. The only apparent difference between the two should be that of your leg placement. 

Primary body parts required to perform a split leap

As a gymnast performing a great number of skills throughout your routine, your entire body is a primary requirement. However, as far as a split leap is concerned, the only crucial body part that has to play a major role in the skill is *cue the drumroll* your lower limbs.

Your legs should be in perfect shape as they are what allow you to push against the ground in the first place. Furthermore, they should also have gained the flexibility required for a split leap as your thigh muscles are made responsible for maintaining a 180 degree split in midair. 

Exercises to do to improve/learn a split leap

I believe an extremely under-appreciated advantage of learning to do a split leap is that they give your leg muscles the strength they need as an all-rounder. Your lower limbs are going to play a significant role in countless (quite literally) gymnastics skills. For which reason, they more than any other muscle, need to be in the right shape. 

Lunges are the best exercise and the most unmatchable you could do for your legs, gymnastics, or no gymnastics.

While performing a lunge, you will need to keep your back upright and your legs working. They are known for improving the flexibility of the legs, especially if performed with adding resistance. You may use light weights to add resistance to lunges. 

Kettlebell deadlift is also an exercise that will bring the form to your thigh muscles as it requires bending from the hip to down.

Having said that, while performing this exercise be mindful not to overdo it. Overexertion may leave your body feeling sore instead of active.  

3 Drills to do before performing a split leap

These drills may also be used if you intend to bring improvement in your performance of split leaps. 

The very first drill you may do is to perform kicks. If you are facing difficulties in raising your forward leg while attempting to do a split, practice doing forward kicks.

On the other hand, if the trouble lies in trying to jump off the ground and give a raise to your back leg, invest your time in practicing backward kicks. These kicks will directly eliminate the issue of flexibility that you may be facing.

Secondly, another favourable suggestion is that of doing split jumps or ordinary splits beforehand.

Both of these drills will rid your body of any stiffness and allow you to broaden your horizons.

After following these, you will also find yourself feeling comparatively more confident in your ability.

Lastly, try finding any sort of support that you can around your practice place such as a wall or a mattress. Attempt to do a standing split against the support. Stretch your body against the wall as far as it is painlessly possible. Continue doing so till you are satisfied with your progress. 

Equipments required to practice/improve split leaps

The materials that you will need for a split leap are listed as follows;

  • A seven to eight-inch mat 
  • Kettlebells (to perform the exercises)
  • Lightweights
  • Any other resistance tools you might need 

Once you have mastered the split leap, you are ready to challenge the switch leap.