How to Do a Toe Touch | Arm Position
The first step in learning to do a toe touch is arm position. Begin with arms in a high V position or with hands slightly together in front of the vertical position. Refer to the video below for a visual of correct hand positioning. Next, a cheerleader must use her arms to build momentum for maximum jump height. An agressive arm swing down will help load the muscles for the jump. When swinging down, the cheerleader will move her hands forward in front of her body and then out wide until her hands reach a T. The T position means that the arms are out wide with closed fists parallel to the ground. A better way to think about it would be that the fists should be pointing at the wall. The arms should be slightly in front of the chest because if the arms are even with the shoulder line there will be no room for the legs to come up during the toe touch.
Toe Touch | Arm Position During the Jumps
After the cheerleader has gained momentum with her arm swing down, she will jump as her arms reach the T position height. The key to a great toe touch is arm placement during the jump phase. Cheerleaders must be careful not to drop their arms from the T position during the toe touch. Some think this makes their toe touch look higher but it does not. If cheerleaders drop their arms it will cause their chest to roll forward. When the chest roles forward it will prevent them from getting a high leg kick due to hip alignment. Cheerleaders must remember not to raise their arm level above shoulder height. Higher arms will make kicks look lower and could throw off the ability to maintain body control throughout the toe touch. High arms can force the center of gravity back causing them to land on their heels or potentially ruin the stunt altogether.
How to Do a Toe Touch | Leg Position
At Kbands Training we want cheerleaders to get to the highest level. Leg position and technique are essential to enhancing the ability to jump high. Strong legs are needed for a high jump, but it takes the entire body working together to reach full potential. Cheerleaders should begin with their feet together to maximize kick height. If the cheerleader begins with her feet at shoulder width apart, she will not be able to properly use momentum to build kick height. With feet close together that 8 to 12 inch difference can be used to build momentum for the jump. The extra 8 to 12 inches will give the hip flexors the ability to fire even longer helping to raise her feet above her arms.
With the feet together we are ready to move into the toe touch jump. As the cheerleader swings her arms down there must be a slight bend in the knees. This bend combined with the arm swing will preload the muscles for a higher jump. The next portion of the toe touch is where it all comes together. When the arms are on the way up to the T position the cheerleader will begin to jump. The cheerleader must maintain a high chest as she kicks her legs up and make sure to keep her toes pointed with her shoelaces to the ceiling. If the cheerleader's shoelaces are pointing at the wall in front of her, she will close her hips off. This angle of hip alignment will force the body to kick lower. Be conscious to keep the shoelaces toward the ceiling to automatically correct hip alignment. Next, the cheerleaders legs will reach maximum height. The legs should slide in behind the arms that are in a T position. After the cheerleader reaches maximum height she will be able to control her body down to the starting position with her feet together and arms at her sides. This will complete the toe touch.
Need to Improve Toe Touch
There are many things that can restrict a cheerleader from having a perfect toe touch. Flexibility and body strength are the 2 major contributors. If a cheerleader has tight hamstrings and a tight lower back she will physically be unable to kick her feet as high as she desires. If a cheerleader does not have enough core strength or hip flexor strength to raise her legs high, then she will never be able to reach her potential. Cheerleaders looking for help can check out our free Stunt Strap Stretch Routine to optimize flexibility. This includes step-by-step instructions of how to get full range of motion in the hamstrings, groin, hip flexors, and quads. Cheerleaders also have access to our free toe touch training routine with Kbands. At Kbands Training we are here to help cheerleaders train smart with cheer specific training.
Lower Back Safety with Toe Touch
A toe touch is a high impact stunt. The lower back always takes the blow of every hard landing. With continuous irritation, muscles that support the spine will become bound and tense. This tension often turns into lower back pain. Cheerleaders with lower back pain must first address flexibility around the lower back to continue stunt training. Lower back injuries only get worse if the proper course of action is not taken. Use our FREE lower back stretch routine to prevent or get rid of lingering back pain. It can help loosen the muscles around the lower spine and give more range of motion. Cheerleaders should always make sure to warm up properly before testing their flexibility. Warm muscles have the ability to stretch and relax with flexibility stretching, but a cold muscle will never loosen. Five minutes of jogging and some dynamic stretching are a good place to start. Dynamic stretching includes: walking lunges, body squats, inchworms, knee pulls, ect… Refer to one of our football dynamic stretch videos for a good understanding of what a dynamic stretch is. This video is catered to football players, but is a universal dynamic stretch routine for any athlete. Within minutes cheerleaders should be ready to go and improve flexibility.
Cheer Training Equipment