Everybody dreams matching Van Damme, but not many have the flexibility to do so. High kicks as stunning as they look, require a significant amount of flexibility which comes from mobility and stretching exercises.

A nice high kick doesn’t just allow you to lift your leg high but also ensures that you control its movement with sublime accuracy. Regardless of the martial art you’re practicing, if you want to excel at high kicks, you can’t do away without flexibility.

For this reason, i have prepared some helpful tips. Let’s start with flexibility exercises and stretches which will enable you to kick high while maintaining control and composure.

Note that these are non-traditional flexibility exercises. I have avoided all the traditional stretches used in martial arts and have purposely opted for alternative stretches inspired by other disciplines that rely heavily on flexibility .

1) Seated straddle

The goal is to stretch until you reach 180-degree. Straddle stance is a great way to work your hamstrings.

How to do a seated straddle? Try to get into the split position, stretch your legs as far as you can while sitting on the ground. Follow it up by moving your body towards the left with your hands touching the feet and then do it on the other side. Remember, the foot should point towards the sky.

2) Kick Hold

Kick hold is great to achieve control over your kicks. It improves the reach as well the precision of your kicks.

How to do a kick hold?

Hold the wall with your left hand for support and from there, try to do a side kick. First step is to hold the kick mid-air and then shoot it up.

3) Straddle Stretch (Version 2)

One of the most popular stretching exercises, Straddle Stretch is excellent to work your legs and hips. This stretch improves kicking range and height.

How to do a straddle stretch?

While sitting, spread your legs sideward. Bend at the waist and stretch your body forward. Keep your toes pointing upwards while your thighs are lying flat on the floor.

4) Advanced Butterfly Stretch

Advanced Butterfly Stretch is excellent to work your lower back, hip, thigh and groin muscles. It helps to improve the kicking range.

How to do an Advanced Butterfly Stretch?

While sitting, place your feet towards each other and lean forward from the waist. Try to touch your elbows to the ground while holding the hands against each other.