Have you ever used muscles that have not been used in a while? You might really feel the muscles during the usage. Certainly, though, without a good warm-up period, you will definitely feel it the next day.
Imagine how much more important it is when doing strenuous activities like those performed regularly in cheer routines. Cheerleading stretches and a complete warm-up period are key to preventing tight muscles, strains, and even more serious injury.
Cheerleading Stretches Prevents Injuries
Research shows that adding flexibility exercises prior to strenuous activity gave substantially more strength than those that do not stretch. Flexibility allows for a greater range of motion by key joints throughout the body. Maintaining that flexibility allows cheerleaders to perform difficult stunts required in competitive cheer. Certainly the more flexible the cheerleader, the less likely they will be injured or develop lower back pain. Studies also show that stretching improves circulation to joints and may actually reduce the degeneration of commonly used joints.
Stretching should not be limited to the beginning of your workout. After your practice time, you should take the time to stretch. This cool-down period will allow your joints to rebound more appropriately and further reduce injury.
Here are some pointers for cheerleading stretches:
- You want to stretch your muscles slowly and in a controlled manner. You want to feel the stretch but not to the point of serious discomfort.
- Hold the position for a minimum of 15 to 30 seconds. Relax the muscles and repeat between 3 and 10 times for maximum effectiveness.
- Do not make rapid jerky motions that will put stress on the joints. A slow, methodical stretch is what you are after.
- Do not stretch in awkward directions. You are trying to stretch in the manner your joints will be required to move. You are not trying to gain range of motion that is unnatural for you.