Stretch, tumble, stretch, stunt, stretch, jump, stretch dance. Stretch Stretch Stretch…are we stretching enough?
How often do we hear the word “stretch” in a cheer gym? First of all, yes, stretching is important, but how much? Should we be stretching as much as we are? Okay, I don’t think I can type the word str…that word…again. It’s starting to sound weird in my head…
When we are doing that thing we mentioned above, we are essentially trying to convince the brain that it’s okay for that part of the body to be relaxed and pulled to it maximal length without tearing. There isn’t really a true “lengthening” of the area, we just get better at allowing the area to be…well, stretched.
Where the problem lies is that being super flexible is not the answer to all of our problems and it definitely doesn’t keep us safe from injuries. If flexibility was all that mattered, I’d never have a cheer athlete, gymnast, or dancer as a patient. We must build strength. Strength in full and controlled range of motion. It is my belief that if we, as a community, took the time we spent stretching and used half of it for focused strength building (not just throwing around weights, but also body weight and therapeutic exercise), we would have exponentially less injuries AND faster skill acquisition (getting new skills in shorter periods of time).
The Cheer Doc is an online resource for cheer athletes, gymnasts, tumblers, and other acrobatic type athletes to learn how to improve athletic performance as well prevent injuries.