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Most cheerleading stunts require a combination of balance, strength, and flexibility. The scale is no different. It requires flexibility while balancing on one leg. A cheerleader must have the core strength to hold her leg in an elevated position while maintaining a center of balance. Glute strength, hip stability, and flexibility are the main training focuses to improve a cheerleader's scale. Flexibility is the most limiting factor that can work against a cheerleader's abilities. If the cheerleader cannot complete the splits, her scale will suffer. If cheerleaders analyze an above average scale, they will notice that a good scale is simply the splits inverted on one leg. The arm that is wrapped around the leg is used for stabilization to help the body balance and get in maximal split position.
Cheerleaders must be able to perform the splits to have a great looking scale. The major muscles holding cheerleaders back from completing the splits are the hip flexors, hamstrings, glutes, and the groin. It is important to stretch each of these thoroughly 3 to 4 times a week. Cheerleaders of all ages must make sure to get a good warm-up in before each stretch session. Jog for 5 minutes and go through an array of dynamic movements to ensure blood circulation. Loose warmed up muscles are more elastic than cold muscles. Cheerleaders working for flexibility without warming up are more prone to injury. A great warm-up stretch for cheerleaders is our Stunt Strap Stretch Routine. Check out our free cheer video for a walk-through of the stretches.
There is a sequence of stretches that can help improve a cheerleader's split flexibility. First, cheerleaders must sit on the floor and spread their legs wide. The stretch will be completed by laying the torso down the middle of open legs. Work the legs out as far laterally as possible, and rest the upper body on the elbows in front. This stretch will target the hamstrings, groin, and glutes. A box or step is needed for the next stretch. The cheerleader must stand with her legs straight in the locked position on top of either the step or box. Now the cheerleader must bend over and reach over the edge of the box or step and work for more range of motion. As the cheerleader's hands move past the toes, take a deep breath and exhale for a deeper stretch.
Finally, the third stretch is a build up to the splits. Standing in the upright position the cheerleader must lunge forward placing one of her knees on the ground. This stretch is a 2 part build up. First, cheerleaders must target their hip flexors. With their back knee on the ground and their front leg bent and weight still on the foot, cheerleaders must slide their weight forward onto their front foot. The cheerleader should feel like she is dragging her back leg. This shift in body weight will stretch the cheerleader's back leg hip flexor. After the stretch, the cheerleader will pull out of the hold and put her weight back onto her knee. Now the cheerleader will begin working for the splits. While still holding the body's weight on the back knee, straighten the front leg so that the heel is on the ground. Bend the torso over towards the front toe while staying high on the back knee. The cheerleader must continue to exhale for more range of motion. Let the front foot slide out 4 to 6 inches and hold another stretch. Cheerleaders must continue until they reach the point they can go no further, or they reach the split position.
Complete each of these stretches with both legs. Cheerleaders must hold each stretch for 20 to 25 seconds and be conscious of breathing to work for more range of motion each time they exhale. Cheerleaders who have a weak scale must be able to perform the splits to enhance their stunting performance. Continuing to do the scale over and over again will only slow the process. By working on this stretch sequence 3 to 4 times a week a cheerleader can enhance her scale quickly.
As mentioned before, cheerleaders must have strength to control their bodies while moving through full range of motion on one leg. We have designed Kbands to help train muscles in the exact same body positions that they will be used to perform. By adding resistance to the legs while holding a scale, a cheerleader will build the glute and hip muscles needed to hold an elevated split or scale. Hip strength and stability play major factors in having a perfect scale. Cheerleaders will also feel a featherlike feeling in their legs when working without the bands. Cheerleaders all over the nation are using Kbands to warm up for competition. It leaves their legs feeling light and free as they compete. To perfect a scale, cheerleaders can go through a sequence of resistance training with Kbands.
After a warm-up and stretch, cheerleaders must strap the bands on around their legs. After clipping the 2 resistance bands together, cheerleaders will feel immediate muscle activation. Refer to the video above to watch as a cheerleader moves through the sequence of exercises. When completing the sequence at home, cheerleaders must perform 6 to 8 resisted reps with 4 to 6 second holds at the peak position of the scale. This 4 to 6 second hold will allow the body to recruit more muscle fibers. As the legs and hips undergo resistance the body must fight to keep the leg high, which in turn, will build leg muscles. After completing these resisted 6 to 8 reps cheerleaders must unclip the bands and immediately complete 4 to 6 unresisted reps. These reps will also include a 4 to 6 second hold at the peak of the scale. The cheerleader will feel as though her legs are very light. It is important to work for more range of motion with this lighter feeling. Cheerleader stunts will greatly benefit from Kbands resistance. It is essential that cheerleaders do not rest in between resisted and un-resisted sets. To clarify the workout: 6 to 8 resisted reps with a 4 to 6 second hold at the top, then go right into 4 to 6 un-resisted reps with a 4 to 6 second hold at the peak of the scale. Complete this sequence of reps for 3 sets.
To become an all-star cheerleader, cheerleaders must realize that advanced level training is available. Cheerleaders must not allow themselves to fall behind. Speed up the process by following us here on Kbands Training where we will work to help you achieve your goals. Always make sure to leave a day of rest in between resistance training workouts.
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