FLEXIBILITY FOR CHEERLEADING: TOP 10 STRETCHING MISTAKES & TIPS
Do you struggle with stretching? Are your jumps and stretch skills difficult for you to master?
You’re probably here because you’ve been trying to get flexible without seeing the results you’ve hoped for.
Here are the top 10 mistakes you could be making, that are preventing you from becoming more flexible - and the training tips from our BBS LONG & STRONG ONLINE FLEXIBILITY TRAINING program.
1. YOUR’E SCRUNCHING INSTEAD OF STRETCHING!
You think you’re stretching - but actually you’re “scrunching”. Your head is touching the floor but you look more like a crippled granny than a flexy cheerleader, gymnast or ballerina. CCA TIP: Lengthen your stretch: it doesn’t matter where your head is. What matters is the angle of your stretch, and if you’re feeling it in the right places.
2. YOU’RE COLLAPSING INSTEAD OF LIFTING
When you’re holding your stretch skill, you’re collapsing to the ground instead of lifting. Your muscles are relaxing and falling to the ground instead of extending. CCA TIP: Lift your muscles and make them long and strong! Think of making yourself as tall and long as possible: you will be more stable when holding your stretch.
3. YOU’RE HOLDING YOUR BREATH AND YOU'RE TENSING
Holding your breath and tensing your muscles signals your nervous system that you're under STRESS and reduces the amount of oxygen you bring to your muscles. This will make it more difficult to deepen your passive stretch and deepen your range of motion. CCA TIP: Breathe slowly and deeply to relax your body, inhaling before you’re ready to push yourself a bit more and exhale as you push the stretch further.
4. YOU’RE STRETCHING SKEWED
Great, you look like a boomerang! Yes, it’s frustrating that your stretching is not yet on point - but stretching at wonky angles is just slowing down your progress. Don't focus on how low you can go, rather that you're stretching correctly. CCA TIP: Be patient, stretch straight. It looks like you’re not as flexible but trust us when we say: you’re 10 steps ahead of a wonky stretcher!
5. YOU’RE STRETCHING COLD
You think you’re too tough to warm up before you stretch. The joke’s on you because it’s like trying stretch a dry sponge. Your body needs to be warm to reach its full stretch potential. CCA TIP: Make sure you’ve been warming up for at least 5 minutes before stretching - that means getting a little out of breath before you stretch out.
6. YOU’RE STRETCHING AT THE WRONG TIME
If you’ve come across our blog or insta feed before, you might have read numerous times that working on flexibility at the start of practice is a bad idea... 1) it’s dangerous to overstretch before training power skills 2) it reduces your muscle explosiveness 3) chances are you won’t stretch at the end, when it really matters for flexibility. CCA TIP: Keep your warm-up stretch short and focused on dynamic movement and mobility. Spend more time at the end of practice training your flexibility, set your stretch timer for 60 secs and breath deeply while you stretch.
BBS Training Method by CheerConditioning.Academy
STABILITY | MOBILITY | FLEXIBILITY | ACTIVE RANGE | KINESIOLOGICAL STRETCHING
This tried and tested method offers an individualised approach to flexibility, based on kinesiology and the joy of creativity. The BBS LONG & STRONG training guide and our online videos bring together years of experience and knowledge from a variety of industries: cheerleading, dance, ballet, martial arts,
gymnastics, yoga, pilates and corrective movement.
7. YOU’RE NOT STRETCHING ENOUGH
You’ve been stretching every week for the last 15 years and getting no-where... CCA TIP: Remember that flexibility requires consistent work to see visible progress... you’re not only changing the elasticity of your body but you’re also convincing your muscles and joints that it’s ok to go a little further! You will find more results in 6 months of stretching every day than stretching for 15 years once a week.
8. YOU’RE NOT WORKING ON MOBILITY
You’re so focused on “getting” your skill that you forget to stretch and mobilise ALL the joints of your body. CCA TIP: Remember that real-life people are not cartoons... they are 3D complicated bio-mechanical machines with lots of intricate parts. To get flexible, all of these parts need to be mobilised and stretched before you attempt a flexibility skill.. especially the ones that feel sore and tight!
9. YOU’RE NOT WORKING ACTIVE FLEXIBILITY
You’re flexible yet you can’t hit your flexibility when it matters: during a skill. This means you're only working on your PASSIVE flexibility rather than your ACTIVE flexibility. For example in a jump, it's not how flexible you are that matters. It's how much control, speed and power you can apply to your stretch. CCA TIP: When you’ve progressed your stretch - spend as much time training the strength of the stretch also: for example holding the stretch on a stability board or conditioning the range of motion with strength and power drills. Try holding at the top, middle, and bottom of your ranges of motion.
10. YOU DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND HOW / WHAT TO STRETCH
We don’t blame you. Stretching is not easy: if you’re not one of those rare people who were born with "rubber bones" (so to speak, you actually just have more collagen in your body) then understanding how flexibility works with your body (rather than against it!) is the real key to success.
CCA is here to help! Our brand new BBS LONG & STRONG flexibility training series is available for cheerleaders, teams and coaches.
CHEERLEADERS: Just $59/year to access our library with hundreds of home training videos aimed at developing every aspect of your cheer skills, with rocking music by Power Music Cheer! You can train and have a blast, never get bored and access all of the educational resources aimed at cheerleaders. MORE INFO
TEAMS: Give your entire team access to CCA to train at home for just $45/month. Learn conditioning routines and exercises created by top industry experts, that you can just press play and pick up back in the gym - just by playing music or screening the videos directly at the gym. BONUS - 1 coach account free to access all of our online learning courses and resources. MORE INFO
COACHES: Access an entire library of educational videos, choreographed conditioning you can use with your teams and our entire library of Advanced Professional Development courses based on sports science for cheerleading. $34/month MORE INFO