Meredith in Nebraska:
Hi, so i'm at JV cheerleader at my school and my toe touches are alright but I want to make Varsity next year. What are the best ways to condition myself and/or become more flexible?
Hi Meredith! Jumps require not only flexibility but muscle strength as well. Here are my top tips: 1. Stretch every day! Apply static stretching, holding each stretch at least 20-30 seconds. Stretch standing feet apart then with feet together, legs straight with hands on the ground. Stretch on the ground in straddle and pike positions. Work on single-leg and middle splits. 2. Strengthen the muscles in your inner thighs with straddle lifts. Sit in a straddle position with your back straigh, be sure to turn your knees out and point your toes. Keeping your legs straight, lift your heels off the ground. Repeat 10 times. 3. Strengthen your abs and work on flexibility with "V-ups." Lie flat on the ground with arms straight overhead, legs straight with your whole body tight. Lift arms to a "T" and legs to a toe-touch position while keeping your tailbone on the floor. Toes should be pointed and legs straight, chest up, just like the in-air toe-touch position. Repeat 10 times. 4. Other good strengthening exercises are squats, lunges, crunches, and tuck jumps.
Make a schedule for yourself to devote 15-20 minutes every day to flexibility and strengthening. If you stay committed, you will notice a difference! Work on your jumps in a mirror to correct your form, and attend private lessons if you can. Keep up the hard work! - Laura