How to Stretch for Cheerleading Flyers
Flyers perform many types of movements within a stunt. From turning and bending to twisting and contorting, flexibility is important for any flyer. Without a solid stretching routine, you are at risk of injury from muscle tears. It's also important for a flyer to build a solid base by doing a good strength-training routine. If you're too flexible without building a good support, or muscle, system, you can damage your body by hyperextending your joints.
Stretching for Flyers
Lightly jog or do some light jump rope exercises to prepare the muscles for stretching. Warm up for 10 to 15 minutes before beginning a stretching exercise.
Do some back stretches to loosen your lower back. Incorporate yoga poses, such as alternating between downward-facing dog and child's pose, to increase low back flexibility.
Kneel on one knee. Point the toe of your front leg and slowly push forward, lowering your body into a split position. Stretch for 30 seconds and twist your torso, facing forward into a center split position. Hold for 30 more seconds and repeat on the opposite leg.
Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall for support. Stand with both legs parallel, knees straight, feet together and lift your right leg behind you without shifting your hips. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the left leg.
Sit on the floor with your feet in front of you, keeping your knees straight. Bring your chest to your knees, stretching your legs without bending your knees. Keep your back straight and chin up. Hold for 30 seconds and relax.
Heel Stretches and Scorpion Flexibility
Place your right hand against the wall for balance, with your feet parallel. Slowly draw your left leg up your right leg through a passe position while keeping your back straight. When your foot is high enough to grab your heel without hunching your back, gently pull the heel up until you can look at your knee. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the right leg.
Lie on your stomach and push up into a yoga cobra position. Bend your knees, bringing your toes toward the back of your head. If you are comfortable, reach behind your head and grab your feet for an additional stretch. Hold for 30 seconds. Begin with one leg at a time if stretching both legs is too difficult in the beginning.
Stand facing a wall with your hands against the wall for balance. Slowly extend your right foot into arabesque, the same way as in Step 4 from above, but this time bend the knee of the leg you are lifting behind you and point your toe as high to the ceiling as possible. When your foot is high enough, reach overhead behind you and grab the foot with your right hand and hold for 30 seconds.
Try to mimic stretches that perform the actions of the stunts or jumps you will be required to do as a flyer. Start slowly, moving through each step of the stretch until you can perform the entire stretch for 30 seconds. Add strength-training exercises to enhance your ability to hold a stunt.
Do not stretch without a proper warm-up for your muscles. Do not bounce during the stretch or try to push past a point of comfort. Hold the stretch in a static position. Always perform the stretch on both sides of the body.
Kindra Harvey has been a dance and fitness writer since 2003. She has taught at, owned and managed several dance and fitness facilities, along with credits in corporate health publications for America's Back, Inc. and dance/fitness blogs for MyPremierStudio.com. Harvey holds a Bachelor of Science in health promotion and wellness from Missouri Southern State University.