To help maintain strength and flexibility, it's important for young cheerleaders to condition at home. The Gym Spot has put together some drills that will help with their conditioning training whilst the lockdown is in full effect, using minimal to no equipment.
Naturally, before you participate in any type of physical activity, it is important to warm up. Participating in high impact activity without warming up can lead to muscle strain and injury. Good warmups before starting your train conditioning include:
Light Jogging or walking on the spot: This will help with getting your heart rate up and releasing any tension within your joints.
Upper Body Stretch: This can be done in either a standing or seated position. Interlock your fingers together, and push your arms up towards the sky. Ensure that your arms are deadlocked straight and that your spine is straight. Place your dominant arm in front of your other arm, turn your palms to face each other, whilst stretching your hands up and back. Repeat with the opposite arm.
Seated Forward Bend: This stretch requires matting as you will be sitting on the ground in an 'L' shape. Lift your arms up and hinge your hips forward, creating a 'roll' movement. Hold this pose for at least a minute.
Knee-to-chest Pose: Lay flat on your back with a mat on the ground, with one leg bent or extended. Bring your opposite knee into your chest, and interlock your fingers around your knee. Hold this position for a minute, and then repeat the same stretch with your opposite leg.
Reclining Butterfly Pose: Lay on your back with the soles of your feet together and your knees facing outward. Place your arms on either side, OR above your head, and hold this position for at least a minute.
Maintaining flexibility is of significant importance to be a successful cheerleader, so it's important to ensure that your flexibility is up to scratch. This also helps you ace your routines with ease! Try these different stretches to help maintain your flexibility whilst in lockdown.
Pike Sit: Sit on the floor, grab your toes and ensure that your heels remain on the ground. Then, grab your heels with your legs locked and pointed.
Right and Left Split: Start in a lunge and then slide down until you are in a front split. Ensure your back leg is on the ground and your front leg is in a deep lunge. Alternate between your right and leg left to stretch.
Full Split: Similar to the left and right split, arch your back with your head dropped back, with your arms reaching as far back as possible. Lay down your front leg whilst reaching to grab your heel. Straighten up your front leg to create a full split.
Middle Split: Standing with your legs slightly apart, slide down into the middle split position. Ensure that your hips are in line with your feet and that your feet are on their sides with your toes facing forward.
Bridge Push: Keep your arms and legs flat, whilst your hands are pushing over shoulders pointing up to the system. Push up through your shoulders with your feet flat. Make sure that your legs stay together and straight.
Jump Kicks: Start with your arms on either side of your body and start counting, as cheer is based on an 8-count. Hold your arms out wide and then swing your leg up as high as you can. For those who are beginning cheer, doing this without the jump and getting the movement, and then once you've aced this form you can add a jump, which will help with momentum. Alternate between both legs.
Catch Squats: This is crucial if you are delegated to catch your team members in a cheer routine. Hold your arms in the air and ensure that your hands are touching, and stand up tall with your legs together. From here, jump up and land with your legs spread, as if you were doing a sumo squat. Bend your knees, and then return to your original stance. This is good for bracing core, and strengthening the lower body. Repeat as many times as desired.
Rebound Jumps: Stand straight with your arms on either side of you. Slightly bend your knees, and bring your arms in front of you. From here, bring your arms up, brace your core, and push yourself up into a jump. Land in that initial bent knee position, and repeat.
Headstands for Beginners: Ensure that you have a mat available to you for support, as this can be dangerous without suitable safety training aids. Start on the mat on your knees, and then bend forward so that your arms are bent on the mat, and that your head is braced by your arms- Do this by placing your forehead on your knuckles that are connected together. (needs rewording) From here, push your legs up and out into a variation of a downward dog position, bend your knees towards the mat, and then push up and lift your feet off the ground into an elevated tuck. Then, try to straighten your legs and ensure your core is braced in order to form a headstand.
Rotating Points: Using a mat, lay down flat on your back, with your arms out on either side and your toes pointed. Stretch one of your legs out at an acute angle, so that your hip is rotated, and then bring back to the initial starting position. This helps with engaging your core, strengthening your hips and legs. Repeat as many times as desired, and then swap legs.
How are you staying fit whilst in lockdown? Do you know of any other drills that are good for cheer? Let us know in the comments below!