Stretching in all individuals is the most significant way to stay mobile, but for cheerleaders flexibility is a must to succeed in the competitive and college cheerleading world. So, what should be avoided in stretching and what will give cheerleaders maximum results? We will discuss some of the most common mistakes made when trying to gain flexibility as well as techniques that have shown to be successful: Static stretching, dynamic stretching, and PNF stretching.
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COMMON MISTAKES MADE WHEN STRETCHING: THE DON’TS
-Don’t stretch before you have warmed up: Before you start any stretching regimen you should always warm up your muscles. You can achieve this by lightly jogging in place, doing laps, jumping jacks etc.
-Don’t stretch to the point of pain: Stretching will be uncomfortable but shouldn’t be miserable. You should stretch the targeted muscle until you feel discomfort then use that place as your stopping point. If you are stretching to the point of pain back off a bit.
-Don’t hold a given stretch for longer than 60 seconds at a time: believe it or not, holding a stretch for 60 minutes straight will give you the same results as holding it for only 60 second. You can however hold it for 60 seconds for multiple intervals. For example, you might hold your right leg split for 60 seconds 10 times.
SUCCESSFUL CHEERLEADING STRETCHING TECQNIQUES: THE DO’S
-Static stretching: Static stretching is one of the m
ost common stretching techniques used. This is accomplished by extending the targeted muscle or muscle group to the point of discomfort (not pain) and holding it for 30-60 seconds at a time. This can be achieved passively with a partner providing an external force into the maximum stretch or Actively where the individual uses their own muscle force to make the stretch more intense.
-Dynamic stretching: Dynamic stretching is different than static stretching because it uses continuous movement to copy the movement you wish to achieve without holding any given position. For example if you are working to increase your heel stretch you would repeatedly bring the leg you wish to stretch up as high as you can then back down again without pause. Note: this can be done laying flat on your back, in sitting, or standing.
-Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF): PNF has shown to be quite successful. There are different types of PNF patterns used depending on how much of a stretch you would like to receive or which pattern works best for a given person. I will go over the most used pattern. Hold-relax. (PNF stretching is best accomplished by using a partner). The Hold-Relax technique is achieved by
an outside force (your partner) giving resistance in the direction you would like to increase your stretch while the recipient is resisting that stretch by pushing in the opposite direction. This is held for roughly 6 seconds at which point the recipient relaxes and lets the partner take him/her into a maximum stretch and hold for about 30 seconds. Repeat this as you feel comfortable and you will be surprised how much visible progress can be seen.
I hope now you have a greater understanding of common mistakes cheerleaders should avoid when stretching, and how to successfully stretch as well as some correct techniques that will help you achieve maximum results.
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