Updated: Apr 1, 2019
Exciting news this week as we're launching the brand new #BodyBeforeSkill series on CheerConditioning.Academy - this workout series is inspired by cheerleading, but for every day fitness - so you can do these workouts at home, but you don't need to be a cheerleader to do these! This is the perfect excuse to get your sister / mother / brother / aunt / dad / pet involved, in your daily workouts.
To kick the series off, we wanted to talk about warm-ups. As you may have already read in this article, warming up is very important BUT you should be careful about WHAT you do in your warmup. For example, you might think that you need to be working on your flexibility... STOP RIGHT NOW!! This is actually very bad for you as it weakens your joints for skill training - read more about this here.
Instead, you should be working on a DYNAMIC WARMUP to help you loosen and prepare your joints. This week we talk you through the checklist of things you should do, during your warmup and we even have a stretch routine for you to follow along.
WHAT SHOULD A CHEER WARMUP INCLUDE?
3-5min of cardio activity. A jog around the gym whilst gossiping about what you saw on Snapchat last night does not count! You should achieve a mild breathless that makes it a bit difficult to talk. A cardio track , circuit, conditioning track is a great way to get your body ready: you want your neuromuscular system getting fired up, your heart pumping oxygen to your muscles and your body temperature warming up. Just make sure you keep your range of motion small before you do your dynamic stretch.
A dynamic stretch routine to warmup and mobilise all of your joints and main muscle groups - going head to toe and working through all of your body.
Some skill-specific drills that will help your body identify / build muscle memory for the right technique you're going to be using in your workout.
WHAT ACTUALLY IS A DYNAMIC WARMUP?
A dynamic warmup means you are using controlled movement to mobilise the different parts of your body as opposed to static stretching / ballistic or PNF stretching which is more suited for flexibility work. You're getting your body fired up and ready to go but working on a balance of strength and mobility so that you're not compromising the stability of your joints or create too many weak points in your muscles.
WHAT IS THE GOAL OF A DYNAMIC WARMUP?
The goal is to allow your joints and muscles to move and be stable for when you're working on skills. Using a lot of circular movements and applying light pressure to the stretch will help you to get your body used to coping with multi-directional movement. This means that your body will be more able to cope in case of a fall, slip or impact. You are basically building the strength and flexibility of your internal "rigging" system. Studies have shown that dynamic stretching before a training session can help you increase overall athletic performance and lift more weight than when compared to no stretching or static stretching!
WHAT SHOULD WE STRETCH IN A DYNAMIC WARMUP?
Your warmup should go through the range of motion of all body areas used at cheer practice:
Lower and upper back
Adductors / abductors
REMINDER! What is the purpose of a warmup:
To prepare all of our joints through mobility, pulse raising and gentle, preparatory stretch exercises
To prepare all bodily systems for the main activity, enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury
To promote the release of synovial fluid into joints to ensure that they're lubricated properly, and warm up tendons, muscles and ligaments surrounding those joints so that they have more elasticity and can withstand opposing forces
To increase our heart rate, promoting blood flow to our muscles which will make the body warmer
To lengthen muscles and move them through a wider range of motion during a preparatory stretch
To activate our brain and neuromuscular pathways to make our body more efficient and increase reaction time
NOT to push flexibility further than our current point