Cheerleading stunts, tumbling, and jumps require extensive flexibility. Static stretching will improve your flexibility. In static stretching, you hold the stretching position with no bouncing or movement. In order to make gains more quickly, make sure to hold static stretches for 30 seconds and to stretch once per day. Always complete a thorough warmup prior to doing any stretching.
A toe touch requires a widespread straddle. Doing wall straddles can help you increase the extension of your straddle position by using gravity to pull your legs into a deeper straddle. Lie down on the ground with your rear end up against a wall and your straight legs extended along the wall with your feet pointing up to the ceiling. Pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine, and keep your lower back pressed into the ground. Allow your legs to come apart, letting your feet sink toward the ground. Keep your legs straight and your toes pointed. Hold this position for the required 30 second interval. Repeat the stretch three times per day.
Achieving the splits will help you do jumps, such as kicks, hurdlers and herkies. It will also help you hit a heel stretch, scale or scorpion in your stunts. Start your split stretching by standing with one foot in front of the other. Bend down to place your hands on the ground and support your weight. Slide your legs out into the splits. Go as low as you can, and hold the position. Repeat with the other leg forward. Do a total of three splits on each side. If you have a full split already, try bending forward in your split and lowering your nose to your knee. Another split stretch variation is to lift your back foot up while tipping your head back until your foot touches your head.
Working with a partner in this stretch can help you improve your flexibility and form in your heel stretch. Lie flat on the ground with one leg in the air. Have your partner straddle the leg on the ground with the underside of your extended leg facing her. Keep both legs straight, and make sure your bottom leg remains flat against the ground. Have your partner push your extended leg up toward your head and slightly out to the side. If you can, reach for your heel, grabbing it with a cupped hand as in a heel stretch. Your partner can gently apply resistance by placing her foot gently on your upper thigh. Make sure to stretch each leg three times.
Borrowing the upward bow pose from yoga can help you gain flexibility in your back. A flexible back will help with back handsprings and will also benefit your scale and scorpion stunting positions. Start out lying on the ground. Place the palms of your hands on the ground right by your ears with your arms bent. Bend your knees, placing your feet on the ground right by your rear end. Press up into a bridge by straightening your arms and legs. If you can, walk your hands and feet closer together to increase the arch of your back.
- Sports Injury Clinic: Stretching Exercises
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The effect of time and frequency of static stretching on flexibility of the hamstring muscles; WD Bandy, JM Irion, and M Briggler; October 1997
- Fit Sugar: Stretch It: Wall Straddle
- Sports Injury Clinic: Partner Hamstring Stretch
- Yoga Journal: Upward Bow or Wheel Pose