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Sep 14

Let’s Get Limber! – Stretches for the whole squad

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/lululemonathletica/

Is your team’s stretching regimen mostly just telling the
one girl that does the chin-chin that she’s got one minute to stretch out for her crazy contortionist elite stunting section?

You know you should, but everybody’s toe touches look fine,
and you have other stuff you need to work on, so it’s a waste of time, right?

Come on.

Let’s talk about how to make your entire squad healthy, fit,
and ready for that stupid-crazy pyramid you saw on YouTube. Sorry, but stretching is a part of it, and not just for the flyers who pull scorpions.

Here are some stretches you can have the entire team do
after their warm ups.

  • Standing straddle – Standing with your feet wide, reach down toward the floor,
    right under your hips (center straddle). Work toward putting your hands,
    and eventually your elbows on the floor. Concentrate on letting your head
    drop, not rounding your back, and reaching further into the stretch by
    letting your head drop so you are looking at the back of the room behind
    you, and pressing your belly button to the back wall as well. With music
    on, hold for up to 4 full 8-counts. You can then reach over to your right
    leg, holding on loosely to the ankle, again trying not to round your back,
    and pressing your belly button toward your thigh. Hold for up to 4 full
    8-counts. Repeat with the left leg
  • Extended Runners lunge – Stand with your right leg in front of you and your left
    leg in back, as far apart as is comfortable, with your legs straight. Bend
    forward, reaching your upper body toward the ankle of your right leg, and
    supporting part of your weight in your hands, placed on the floor on
    either side of your right leg, to avoid too much strain on the knee. When
    you feel balanced here, raise your right toe toward the ceiling, so you
    are balanced on your right heel, and giving yourself a better hamstring
    and calf stretch. Hold for up to 4 full 8-counts. Repeat on left leg. This
    can be incorporated into the standing straddle. Go from Center standing straddle,
    to reaching for the right leg, after holding there for up to 4 full
    8-counts, turn your hips so that now you are facing the right side wall,
    and your right leg is in effect in front of you, instead of to your side.
  • Runners lunge – Stand with your right leg in front of you and your left leg in
    back, as far apart as is comfortable. Bend your right knee, and bring your
    hands to the ground on either side of your right foot. Slide your left leg
    farther back behind you so that your right knee is at a 90 degree angle,
    with your right knee directly over your ankle, not your toe. Try to create
    a straight line from your right knee, through your hips, down to your left
    ankle. Hold for up to 4 full 8-counts. Repeat on left leg. This can be
    incorporated in with the standing straddle and extended runners lunge.
    After going from center straddle, to reaching for your right ankle, you
    will turn your hips to square on your right leg, thus putting you in the
    extended runners lunge. From here, after holding the stretch for up to 4
    full 8-counts, you can simply bend the right knee, and slide your left leg
    out behind you to get to the runners lunge.
  • Side squat – Standing with feet wide apart, bend your right leg, keeping the
    left one straight, moving into a squat, but with your left leg straight
    out to your left side. You will keep your hips squared to the front, and
    as your bend from the right knee gets deeper, you can move your hands to
    the floor under your hips for stabilization. Your right knee should be
    pointed mostly forward, and with hands on the floor to stabilize you, you
    can come all the way down so that the top of your right thigh is resting
    on your right ankle. Keep the left foot flexed. This can be combined with
    the Runners Lunge and the rest of the above combination. After the runners
    lunge, with your hands on the floor near your hips for stabilization, turn
    your body so that your hips are squared to the front, instead of with your
    right leg. If using all of these in combination, after this side squat,
    return to the runners lunge, and straighten the right leg to return to
    standing. Start again with the Standing Straddle in center, and repeat the
    combination on the left side.
  • Seated straddle – Sit, and position your legs so that they are as far out to
    either side as is comfortable. From here, you will stretch forward,
    bringing your chest out toward the wall in front of you, not down. Reach
    your belly button to the floor in front of your hips, not your chest.
    Repeat with the right leg, again, trying to bring your belly button to
    your thigh, not your chest to your knee. Repeat with the left leg. For all
    of these, hold for up to 4 full 8- counts.
  • Arms and triceps – Ideally, you can do this while seated in the straddle
    position, but you can also do these from any seated or standing position.
    Bring your right arm across your body, keeping your elbow straight, and
    hold it with your left hand, offering resistance, and pulling just enough
    to get a little bit of a stretch in your right shoulder. Hold for up to 2
    full 8-counts, then bring your right arm up, so that your bicep is near
    your ear, and bend your right elbow, so your right hand is reaching down
    toward your right shoulder blade. Place your left hand on your right
    elbow, and offer a little resistance, so you feel the stretch in your
    tricep. Hold for up to 2 full 8-counts. Repeat with the left arm.
  • Pike position – Preferably after the seated straddle. From a sitting position,
    position your legs so they are straight out in front of you, with your
    knees straight. With your back straight, flex your feet, and reach both
    hands toward your ankles. Remember to keep your back straight here, the
    goal is to get your belly button to your thighs, not your chest to your
    knees. Hold for up to 4 full 8-counts. Repeat with pointed toes.
  • Seated wrist stretches – Sitting either cross legged, or with your knees
    together, and sitting on your ankles, put your hands out in front of you,
    with your wrists facing the front wall, so palms turned away from you.
    Touch your fingers to the ground, and slowly lean forward so that you can
    place your palm on the ground as well. In a full stretch, you should have
    your hands turned so that your fingers are pointing to the back wall, and
    the underside of your forearms are presented to the front wall. Hold for
    up to 2 full 8 counts. Then, turn your hands over, so that the backs of
    your hands are on the floor, so that with your fingers still pointed to
    the back of the room, your palms are up, and now the tops of your forearms
    are visible to the front of the room. Hold for up to 2 full 8-counts. If
    your wrists are tight, these can be a little intense, so encourage
    stretches to roll their wrists (just moving each of their hands in
    circular motions) after each stretch.
  • Cobra – Start in a plank position, like the top of a push up. With your wrists
    right under your shoulders, slowly lower your hips to the ground, leaving
    your elbows straight. Keep your elbows pushed down away from your ears,
    and feel the stretch in your lower back. Do not bounce this (or any
    stretch) and move slowly to avoid over stretching. Hold for up to 2 full
    8-counts. After the Cobra, push your body back so that your thighs are
    resting on your calves and there is no weight in the arms. This is
    commonly called child’s pose, after the yogic pose, and allows the lower
    back to relax in a convex position.

 

These are some of my favorites, and on nights when I would
be mid flying, doing jumps, and throwing heel stretches and toe touch baskets,
this covered pretty much all my bases.

For specific stunts requiring flexibility, maybe give your
flyers an extra minute to prepare themselves, but with these basics, flyers
should be able to pull the basics, bases should be able to get into deep squats
and reach for catches, and everybody should be able to jump and tumble with
nice, warm, elastic-y muscles!

Note – adjust the amount of time held depending on your
squad’s skill level, and how fast the music is. Remember to breathe deeply (you
need to get oxygen to the muscles) and never, ever, bounce a stretch.

1 comment

  1. iphone 5 photos

    he weblog was how do i say it… relevant, finally something that helped me. Many thanks

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