So many cheerleaders want to become flyers, but only those who can squeeze the tightest and pull the prettiest body positions can be put into the air. If you are already a flyer looking to improve her skills, or an aspiring flyer who thinks she has what it takes, you’re in the right place. Today, we are sharing some of our top stretches and exercises to give you an incredible heel stretch. Read on to get started.
This one may seem obvious but think again. Even if you have the splits, it’s important to check the quality. First, make sure that your hips are square. The best way to think about this is to ensure your belly button is facing the same direction as your front foot. Many people like to open their hips in the splits, causing the belly button and torso to turn outward instead of facing forward. This can make your splits look lower to the ground, but there’s no hiding a bad heel stretch in the air. Next, keep the top of your back foot on the ground. Rotating that hip can be just as detrimental to your technique.
If you’ve mastered the splits with square hips, it’s time to take it up a notch. Place a mat on the floor, or some sort of elevated surface. We recommend starting with a small panel mat, or even a couple of books if you’re at home. Place your front heel on the surface of this elevated item, then slowly slide into the splits. If you can comfortably touch the ground while keeping your hips square, then feel free to raise it up a bit higher. If it’s too high, find a shorter surface to use.
Fast Kick, Slow Lower
One of our favorite exercises helps strengthen your hip flexors, allowing you to effectively kick up into your heel stretch. Stand tall with your arms in a high V. When you’re ready, kick your leg up and catch it in a heel stretch. Hold for a moment, then release your foot while engaging your legs to keep the foot in the air by your head. Try to lower down your floating leg as slowly as possible. Repeat 10 times on both sides.
Wall Heel Stretches
A lot of beginner flyers have a tendency to stick out their rears and ruin their alignment when kicking a heel stretch. Make sure you keep your body in position by using the wall for help. All you need to do is stand with your back about an inch or two from the wall. Then, kick up your heel stretch like normal. If you have a tendency to collapse your alignment, you won’t be able to kick your leg up without falling back into the wall. This drill teaches you to keep your chest high and rely on your hips and legs to get that stretch up.
If you have always dreamed of becoming a cheerleader, then we are the place to be in Tifton and Macon! Get in touch with our team today to learn more. We can’t wait to teach you more stretches and exercises for an incredible heel stretch.