Warming up and stretching correctly before any form of exercise is essential if you want to avoid injury. Cheerleading will require almost every muscle in your body to engage and considering cheerleading is one of the most active sports around, you need to make sure your warm-up routine is just as active whilst working all of the muscles you’re about to use.
There is no strict routine that works better than others, but we have collected the most common and widely used warm up and stretching exercises that will help you get ready for practice.
Aerobic Warm Up Routine
Before you start practice make sure to focus on creating an aerobic warm up routine and then a dynamic stretching routine as this will reduce the chance of injury.
A great warm up routine moves your body in a variety of different directions. The best warm ups are usually:
- Jogging either on the spot or around the gymnasium/field
- Slides from side to side
- Jogging backwards
- Star jumps
You should always aim to warm up for around 10 minutes before you go on to stretches, this will loosen your muscles up and get them ready for the task at hand. Try and warm up so you feel a little tired, but don’t overdo it to the point where you are exhausted.
Stretching is the most important part of your routine. Never, ever skip stretching as you risk harming yourself if you fail to do so. As a cheerleader, you will use almost every part of your body, so be sure to stretch every part when preparing. Always aim to hold each stretch for 25-30 seconds before you start the next stretch. A good stretching routine will take around 10-15 minutes.
Some of the best stretches for cheerleaders are:
Hamstring stretches. Sit down and stretch one leg out whilst tucking the other into your groin. Reach for your toes and hold for 30 seconds. Alternatively spread both legs out and reach to either side for 20- 30 seconds at a time.
Hip stretches. In a standing position, spread your legs to double shoulder width and squat with your feet pointing outward. Tuck your elbows into your inner knee and squat as low as you can whilst pushing your knees out.
Quad stretches. Stand up and bend one knee backwards and catch your foot with the same hand. Stretch your quad by pulling your ankle towards your body all whilst balancing yourself.
Triceps stretches. Reach one hand up and then behind your back so your hand is touching the centre of your back. Push down gently with your opposite hand.
Shoulder stretches. Reach across your chest with one arm and pull it closer by grabbing underneath your elbow with your other arm.
Chest stretches. Hold your hands behind your back and gently raise them as high as you can whilst keeping your back straight.
If at any time you feel these stretches are beginning to hurt or you do not feel like they are working, tell your coach or instructor immediately.
Ensuring that you are properly warmed up before practice will not only reduce the chances of injury but help you with your overall performance. So warm up, stretch and enjoy it!
Our comprehensive cheerleading insurance policies covers clubs, coaches and cheerleaders against injury and offers peace of mind at all times through comprehensive public liability insurance. Contact us today for more information and to discuss your cheerleading insurance policy.