Flexibility is a must for all cheerleading flyers in order to develop advanced stunting skills and hold difficult positions, such as bow and arrows and scorpion. To improve your flexibility, stretch everyday for 15 to 20 minutes, concentrating on sports-specific stretches to work the lower body and back. Special equipment is not necessary for stretching, but you may find it more comfortable to stretch on a gymnastics or yoga mat. Hold each stretch for 30 to 60 seconds and repeat each four times.
Warm yourself up before stretching. Use 10 to 15 minutes of cardiovascular activity, such as running or aerobics, to raise your core body temperature a couple of degrees and warm your muscles to make them more pliable for stretching.
Sit on the floor with your legs stretched straight out in front of you. Reach both arms up, lengthening your spine. Lay your body down onto your legs and reach for your heels.
Sit on the floor with your legs spread in a wide straddle position. Extend your arms overhead, stretching your spine, before laying your body onto your right leg. Next, slide your body to the center, stretching your arms as far forward as you can. Finally, move your body to your left leg.
Sit on the floor with your legs bent in front of you, knees facing up. Drop your knees to the side and place your feet together. Pull your feet close to your bottom and gently press your knees down toward the ground.
Kneel on one knee on the floor with your foot flat, shoelaces down, and the other foot on the ground in front of your body. Place your hands on either side of your front foot and lower your body slowly to the ground by sliding your back foot backward, keeping your weight on your hands, until both legs are straight and you are as close as you can come to the ground. If you are unable to go all the way down at first, continue to practice the splits, pushing yourself to go a bit further each time until you are able to go all the way down.
Stretch for a scorpion, once you are able to do a full split, by leaning as far back as you can and bringing the toe of your back foot to your head.
Stretch for your heel stretch in the splits by stretching your body down on your front leg, holding onto your heel. Hold this stretch for 30 to 60 seconds before shifting your body to the inside of your leg to touch your chest to the floor.
Lie on your back with your legs bent and feet placed close to your bottom. Put your hands flat on the floor by your ears with your elbows pointing up. Press your weight into your hands and feet and lift your hips into the air into a bridge. Walk your feet as close to your hands as possible to create a tight arch on your back.
- Always use proper technique when stretching to prevent strains.
- Even if you pull your stunt positions with your left leg, stretch both legs.
- Don’t bounce while holding stretches.
- Stretch to the point of feeling the stretch, not to the point of pain.
An American writer living in the United Kingdom, Christy Mitchinson began writing professionally in 2000, during her career in laboratory science, pathology and research. She has authored training materials, standard operating procedures and patient/clinician information leaflets. Mitchinson is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and creative writing with The Open University.