Cheerleading is considered as one of the most favorite activities for teenage girls. It is a physically demanding group sport. Here is some information about a very important aspect of this sport; stretches.
Cheerleading stretches and workouts are designed and performed to avoid any physical injury during the practice or while performing at a live event. To have an excellent cheerleading performance, it is necessary that the cheerleaders are in the best of shape and have fit bodies.
There are various stretches which are practiced by them to attain perfection for different steps, as it makes the body agile and flexible.
How to do Cheerleading Stretches
As cheerleaders move their body in a number of motions that include a lot of twists and turns, the stretches would ensure that they are not affected by any muscle injury. Here are some basic stretches for flexibility.
Have a good warm up for at least 10 to 11 minutes. Start with the simple exercises like jogging and skipping.
Stretch the legs and torso by sitting in a pike position (legs stretched right in front of you). Lean ahead and pull the toes back. When one feels the stretch, hold the position for 25 seconds.
Loosen the thighs and back muscles by placing the soles of the feet together. Bend forward with a straight back.
Stretch the oblique muscles by sitting in a pike position, and rotate the upper body in both the directions.
Stand straight, bend the knees a little, and open up. Lace all the fingers together and stretch palms out right in front of one. Press the palms up to the sky, stretch to the right, and then left.
Lock the fingers behind the back and raise the arms slowly until one feels the tension.
Roll the neck in all the 4 directions and then continue the stretch by leaning the head to the left and to the right.
Stretches for Flyers
Heel Stretch Drills
Make the flyer stand with back facing the wall. This is a partner activity so it would involve another person to help out.
The flyer's leg should be stretched up straight. Make sure the knee is locked out.
The flyer's partner must stand close to the flyer and the flyer must place the leg on the partner's shoulder. Hold this position for 10 counts.
The partner should help the flyer bring the leg close to the head and hold the flyer's leg for 10 counts. The flyer's partner has to stand chest to chest with the flyer and stretch the flyer's leg as high as one can withstand the pain. Release after 10 counts.
Make the flyer stand facing the wall, in an arabesque position.
Keep the hips as square to the front as possible.
The standing leg should be straight and the knee should be locked.
Do one leg squats with the help of a partner.
This would put an immense pressure on the leg and even exercise it in a much better way. Do 10 counts and repeat it with the other leg.
Stretches for Splits
Pike Position Stretches
Sit with an erect posture with the legs straight out in front.
Keep the legs together and try to touch the toes but make sure that the knees are locked.
Once the toes are touched, try touching the nose to the knees. If one finds this difficult, that is, touching the nose to knees, one might not be ready to do splits yet.
One should keep practicing on a daily basis to gain its maximum benefits.
Do this stretch twice a day and make sure that the knees are locked, and the toes and feet are pointing upwards.
Toe Touch Stretch
This stretch is popularly known as a side split or front split. The aim of this stretch is to make the legs stretch out on both sides as far as possible.
When one is comfortable in this position, one might also be able to touch the nose to the floor.
Regular practice will make the legs flexible and graceful. However, one should not overdo it, if one is doing it for the first time. Also, make sure not to stretch beyond the point of pain.
Toe touch stretch is an ideal example of cheerleading stretches for jumps.
So, these were some basic stretching exercises for cheerleaders that one can perform. One should practice them regularly in order to perform some perfect splints, jumps, and flyers.
Disclaimer: Always consult a physician before starting any physical fitness program in order to reduce the risk of injury.