To perform jumps and stunts to the best of their abilities, cheerleaders need a great deal of flexibility. To prepare for specific skills, cheerleaders should focus on a few stretches in addition to a basic stretching routine.
Cheerleading stunts and jumps require extreme lower-body flexibility, particularly in the hamstrings and groin. As you perform cheerleading jumps and stunts, you’ll be able to reach farther and kick higher thanks to the following stretches.
Seated Straddle Stretch
Sit on the ground with your legs spread out straight to the sides as far as possible. Lean forward over your right leg and reach your arms toward your ankle as you sit up tall. Pull your head toward your knee, deepening the stretch and holding it for 30 seconds. You can release the stretch by relaxing your arms and slowly straightening your back, starting from the bottom.
It prepares you for better hurdler and side hurdler jumps by stretching out your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Stretch your right side, then your left side, and then stretch down the middle, between your legs, after the right side stretch. Try to stretch your legs as far out to either side as you can when stretching toward the center. By doing this, you will be able to improve your splits and prepare yourself for a better toe touch jump.
Seated Hamstring Stretch
Place your feet together and sit on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you. As you lean your head toward your knees, bend forward from your hips, reaching your hands toward your ankles. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and stretch as far as you can.
Return to a seated position by relaxing your arms and slowly straightening your back. Your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back will be more flexible for jumps and stunts that incorporate pike or hurdle movements. Two to three times should be enough to feel the stretch.
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
From your hip bone to your quadriceps, your hip flexors run down the front of your thigh. You can perform scales, scorpions, and front splits with flexible hip flexors. On one knee, place your right foot in front of you, forming a 90-degree angle between both knees.
Stretch your left hip flexor by shifting your weight forward onto your right foot. Step your right foot further forward if you do not feel a stretch, and keep pressing your hips forward. After 30 seconds, switch legs and hold the stretch for another 30 seconds.
In addition to lower-body stretches, cheerleaders should have a flexible core. Perform advanced stunts and tumbling runs by bending, twisting, and hyperextending your abdominals and back muscles.
When you hyperextend your back, the cobra stretch targets your abs and hips. You will be prepared for tumbling exercises like back handsprings and stunts like the scorpion by doing this. On the floor, lie on your stomach with your legs together. Your palms should be placed on the ground just outside of your shoulders.
Press through your palms and lift your shoulders off the ground as you exhale, rolling your back upward until your arms are straight. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds, then slowly lower yourself back to the ground by looking up at the ceiling. Two to three more times should be repeated.
As you mimic the body positioning required for exercises like the back handspring, the bridge exercise targets your back, shoulders, chest, and abdominals. Lay on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat, pulled in toward your body. Place your palms flat on the ground near your ears with your fingers pointing toward your shoulders as you reach backward.
Using your palms and feet, lift your torso off the ground as you hyperextend your back as you inhale. Hold the position for 10 to 15 seconds while straightening your arms and knees. Lower your body carefully back to the ground by slowly reversing the movement. Two or three more times should be repeated.
As far as cheer stretch routines go, these are just the tip of the iceberg. For more tips and tricks on stretching, talk to your coach or teammates.
Cheerleading requires a lot of flexibility, so set aside at least 20 minutes, three to five times a week, to focus solely on stretching. As a result, you’ll be amazed at how much better you will be at cheerleading in the future.