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Cheerleading is a physically demanding activity that puts strain on your muscles, tendons and joints. Conditioning your body with a warmup routine prior to cheerleading practice may prevent strain-related injuries as well as improve your overall performance. Here are some cheerleading workout tips for warmups that should help you condition yourself before getting into the game.
Aerobic Warmups: Pam Headridge of Oak Harbor Cheerleading recommends that cheerleaders perform gentle aerobic exercises before practice. These exercises might be as simple as jumping rope or jogging in place. The main idea is to start out with an aerobic exercise that is low in impact but encourages blood flow through joints and muscles.
Range of Motion Exercises: Head to toe range of motion exercises are a must for cheerleading workouts. Starting from the top, lower your chin to your chest and rotate your head around your neck, first clockwise, then counterclockwise.
Next, move down to your shoulders. Shrug your shoulders up and down simultaneously, then alternate the shrugs one at a time.
Swing your arms around in windmills by extending your arms in front of you and rotating them from the shoulder. Cheerleaders can also extend their arms at the sides and make miniature circles at first, then opening up wider to create bigger circles.
Rotate your knees and ankles before jumping on them. Lift one leg at a time and turn your leg back and forth from the knee. Point your toe and rotate your ankle in a circle. Switch legs and repeat when finished.
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Cheerleaders are constantly required to push the envelope when it comes to acrobatics. They are often expected to do midair splits, high jumps and other stunts that require stretching the legs wide open. One of the best cheerleading workout tips is to perform stretches that will help cheerleaders do better splits.
Inner Thigh Stretches: The tendons in between your thighs can be very sensitive when stretching. It’s important not to stretch so far that it hurts. The stretch should merely tug a little.
One of the most common stretches is the butterfly stretch. You might think it’s elementary, but it can be vital in working your inner thigh muscles. Begin by sitting on the floor with the soles of your feet together. Try to touch your heels to your groin, if possible. Lower your knees to the floor and try to make them touch the floor. According to IFA Fitness, this can potentially damage your knees if you force the stretch, so press your knees ever so slightly with your hands instead of pushing down.
“V” Stretch: This seemingly awkward stretch makes use of gravity to assist your splits and jumping abilities. Begin by lying on your back. Raise your legs toward the ceiling, keeping your feet flat, not pointed. Turn your knees and feet towards the side and gradually lower them down as far as they can go.
When you reach the point where your legs can’t stretch any farther, hold this pose. Your legs will be making a sort of “V” shape. Return to the starting position and repeat, if desired. If you practice this cheerleading workout tip several times a week, you will likely become more flexible in the groin and thigh area and be capable of performing better jumps and splits.