Team Cheer PNF Stretches | Kbands Stunt Strap Stretching Series
PNF stretches, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, is a stretch exercise which can greatly enhance the range of motion cheerleaders are able to achieve. These stretch exercises build and enhance on traditional static stretches performed with the Kbands Stunt Strap.
PNF stretches involve a series of active movements performed by the athlete in order to enhance flexibility. The Kbands Stunt Strap Stretching Series concentrates on increasing the range of motion in the groin, hip flexors, quads, and hamstrings. Along with increasing flexibility in cheerleaders, PNF stretches also reduce the chance for injuries to the lower body.
Team Cheer Stretch Exercises
Cheerleaders will utilize the stretches performed in the Best Stretching Exercises For Cheerleaders and a Stunt Strap to perform the PNF stretches. Before beginning the team cheer stretch exercises cheerleaders will want to spend 5-10 minutes performing a light active warmup on the lower body to prepare the legs and hips for the PNF stretches. A light warmup can include a fast walk into a jog or some other active warmup.
Cheerleaders will begin the Team Cheer Stretch Exercises by lying on their back and placing the Kbands Stunt Strap around the center of one of their feet. With arms extended cheerleaders will begin to pull their foot toward their head keeping the leg as straight as possible. When performing these exercises it is important cheerleaders focus on the amount of stretch they feel in their legs and not as much about how far the foot and leg are able to move. Cheerleaders should work to create a 90 degree angle with their raised leg and their body. Once cheerleaders have reached their maximum stretch capability they will begin the PNF stretching portion of the stretch exercises.
Once at the top of their range of motion cheerleaders will actively push their foot against the Stunt Strap for 8 seconds before again pulling the foot and leg toward the head. After the tension is released and the leg is pulled back cheerleaders should feel they are able to achieve a greater range of motion in their hamstrings and hips. Cheerleaders will hold the leg in the static stretching position for 20-30 seconds before pressing back into the Stunt Strap and performing another round of PNF stretches. Cheerleaders should perform 4-5 rounds of the PNF stretches on each leg.
For the next PNF stretch cheerleaders will remain on their backs with their feet on the ground. Cheerleaders will begin the PNF stretches by pointing the toe, of the foot attached to the Stunt Strap, and with a straight leg begin to pull the leg to the outside of the body. Once the cheerleader has reached the top of this range of motion they will actively press the foot into the Stunt Strap as if they are trying to push their leg back to the starting position. Press the leg into the Stunt Strap for 8 seconds before releasing and pulling the leg back up the side of the body. Cheerleaders should be able to take the leg farther than they were able to on their original hold at the top. After each PNF stretch is complete cheerleaders should hold their leg at the top of their range of motion for 20-30 seconds before returning to the PNF stretch. Perform 4-5 rounds of the static hold and PNF stretch combination on each leg.
The final set of PNF stretches requires the cheerleader to roll over to their stomach with the Stunt Strap attached to the foot. Cheerleaders will extend their arms out in front of them and attempt to take their foot to the back of their head. Once the cheerleader has reached their maximum range of motion they will actively press their foot back into the Stunt Strap, as if they are trying to return the foot to the ground. After an 8 second hold on the PNF stretch cheerleaders will stop pressing with their foot and attempt to bring their foot closer to the back of their head. Cheerleaders will hold the static stretch for 20-30 seconds before performing another set of the PNF stretches. Perform 4-5 rounds of the static and PNF stretches on each leg.
How Do PNF Stretches Work
PNF stretches are an advanced form of stretching exercises which quickly work to increase range of motion in a desired area through a series of contractions and isometric holds. PNF stretches are extremely advantageous for team cheer stretches due to their simplicity and immediate increases in flexibility and range of motion. Cheerleaders will notice the effects of the PNF stretches immediately and can even notice their increased range of motion as they work through the stretch exercises.
The immediate effect of the team cheer PNF stretches will help cheerleaders be more successful when performing cheerleader stunts such as the scorpion or toe touch. A lack of range of motion will often times result in injuries when performing cheerleading stunts requiring a high level of flexibility. These stretch exercises, along with a great active warmup and self myofascial release (see Recovery Foam Roller), will help cheerleaders improve their execution of stunts and avoid costly injuries to the legs, hips, and low back.
Increase Strength And Overall Athleticism With Team Cheer Stretch Exercises
Once cheerleaders have performed the team cheer PNF stretches they should perform cheerleading drills which focus on cheerleading stunts and moves which require an advanced range of motion. The Spirit Kicks Cheerleading Drill requires a great amount of flexibility in the groin and hips. Increased flexibility for drills such as Spirit Kicks Cheerleading Drill or the Toe Touch Training will help cheerleaders become better athletes due to the larger amount of muscle fibers which can be activated during the PNF stretches.
Cheerleaders who practice these PNF stretches and other team cheer stretch exercises 2-3 times a week will see huge improvements in their execution of cheerleading stunts, as well as advances in overall athleticism.
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