With this New Year brings new experiences and opportunities to our cheerleaders. Not only will they be challenged after a long holiday break, but also they will be pushing their bodies harder than they were in 2014. With Nationals on a few months away, the goal is to be as strong and motivated as possible to reach our goals.
The biggest problems that can occur after holiday breaks is your body is weaker than it was in December. Your wrists and ankles do not have as much muscle and strength supporting your bones. You may start complaining about pain in your wrists and ankles after practices. You may start wanting to tape up those body parts and use braces to support but the real trick is building up those muscles again!
With our practices back to the normal schedule, it can be hard to find free time to strengthen your body. It can also be hard to find the motivation after a long day at school or practice, but those excuses won’t hold up here. I am going to give you a few simple and easy exercises to help your wrists and ankles and to help you fly high the rest of the season.
Exercise One: To help your ankles, walk around your house or the gym on your toes. Walking laps on your toes will build up the muscles around your ankle. Do this for 2 minutes then switch to walking on your heels. Do this for 2 minutes, and repeat.
Exercise Two: Stand with your feet together on a edge of your stairs at home or at the gym. Keep your toes on the step and heels hanging on the edge. Lift your heels up and do 15 heel raises, you will feel the burn mostly in your calves. Next, turn your toes out like Mary Poppins and do 15 more raises. Last, turn your toes into each other like a pigeon and do 15 more raises. Repeat this 3 times.
Exercise Three: To help your wrists, grab a T-shirt or any type of clothing and roll it into a ball. Grab the ball of fabric with both hands and smash the shirt in your hands. Squeeze as tightly as you can, you will feel your muscles around your wrist and handle contracting and working for you. Squeeze the fabric 15 times. Then, turn your hands around so that your palms are facing you. Grab the fabric, squeeze, and repeat 15 times this way. Different muscles are being used when you turn your hands, you should feel these working as well. Repeat this 3 times.
Exercise Four: This is less of an exercise and more of stretching to help your wrists. Sit down on your knees; place your hands on the ground in front of you, with your fingers facing away. Lean forward and stretch your wrists out, hold for 10 seconds. Then, continue on this path until you have done all of the wrists stretches we do at practice.
Doing these little workouts around the house or even when you have free time at the gym will help you immensely throughout the rest of the season. You use your wrists and ankles for every single skill in your routines, even when you are stunting, jumping, and dancing. Having a strong and capable body with a positive and motivated outlook will make for an awesome rest of the season and a happy and healthy program!
By: Amanda Tunison