Updated: Jun 4, 2020
We all know its important to warm up before doing a workout/training or stretching. Muscles must be warm and ready to work to prevent injury and aches and pains. In a sport like Cheerleading (and it is a sport, no question!), most of us are working on our skills and flexibility every day.
I often look online at workouts, training techniques etc for ideas to keep my home workouts interesting, and you can find plenty of follow-along warm ups on youtube etc. In all honesty though, the warm up is my least favorite part of my workout and some days, instead of spending time searching online for something new and interesting, I just want to get a quick warm up done that suits me and what I want to work on that day.
So, I've put together a list of some common exercises I like to use to warm up, and the area of the body they work on, so that you can design your warm up specifically for you. And if you know the right ingredients, you can always do a quick workout wherever you are, even without internet.
So here's the basic recipe:
- Include at least 3 exercises from each section
- Do each exercise for 30 seconds - 1 minute
- Warm up for at least 10 minutes
- Be sure to warm up any and all muscles you are going to be working
Skip to the time in the video for a demo...
Section 1: Heart Rate Raisers
Get the blood pumping - remember to keep your abs nice and tight.
- High Knees: Good for the glutes. Add arms to work the upper body as well. Get your knees at least hip height. You can do this with a beat between movements, or as a fast run. 00:10
- Jumping Jacks: Great one for the full body. Keep your jumps strong, and make sure the arms are bent above your head. 00:15
- Butt kicks: Good for activating the hamstrings. Kick your butt, simple. Make sure to include arm motion as well, whatever you like. 00:21
- March / Jog: Good for your legs (quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves). Swing those arms to work the upper body as well 00:27
- Wide Leg Jog/ March: Same as a standard march but opening the hip flexors a bit more. Lift knees higher and add stronger arms for more intensity 00:34
- Hamstring / Quad Curls: Surprise, surprise, good for the hamstrings. And the glutes. Kick your butt. Add in arms for upper body strength 00:41
- Ankle Hops / Skipping without Rope: Really good for your calves. Land on the balls of your feet. 00:50
- Kick Crunch: Crunching the abs. Engage your core and bring your hand to touch your foot 00:57
- Squat Jumps: Good for your glutes, quads and lower abs. Keep your core strong and sit low 1:09
Section 2 : Dynamic Stretching
Stretching during a warm-up should always be dynamic (basically repetitive movements rather than holding the stretch for a long time), save the static stretching for after your workout when your muscles are nice and warm!
- Knee to Chest: For hamstrings, hip flexors, glutes, and low back. Hug your knee as close to your chest as you can 0:11
- Quad Stretches: You guessed it, for your quads. Make sure the knee points to the floor, put your arm out for balance if you need to 0:21
- Standing Trunk Twists - For your obliques & Upper body. Swivel your foot so your hips rotate too. 0:34
- Dynamic Hamstring Stretch. For hamstrings. Keep your back flat and flex your foot 0:41
- Lying Trunk Twists / Hip twists: 2 exercises here that are great for the lower back. 0:52
- Shoulder Circles: For your shoulder mobility, 2 different versions here. My advice is always include both of these, especially if you're a cheerleader! 1:02
- Neck Circles: For your neck. These can often be overlooked but to be honest I always include these no matter what I'm doing, just to be safe. Do them slowly and gently. 1:15
- Wrist Stretch: For your wrists. Important for cheerleaders as we put a lot of strain on our wrists. Turn your hands towards you and gently lean back. You can then sway very slightly and gently from side to side. 1:29
- Cat Cows: Great for the back, torso and neck. Open your chest as you drop the belly. Pull the abs in as you curl over 1:47
- Wide Leg Hamstring Stretch: For your hamstrings. Keep your feet parallel and pointing forwards. 1:59
- Lateral Bends: Obliques and back. Reach as far as you can to the left or right 2:13
- Standing Half Forward Fold: Great for your hamstrings and spine, it also opens up your chest and shoulders. Keep your back straight and squeeze shoulder blades together 2:27
- Cross Touch & Reach: Hamstrings and lower back. Keep your feet pointed forwards and reach your opposite arm up as you bend. Keep your back straight. 2:38
- Hip Circles: To loosen your hips. Make sure your abs are also engaged. 2:49
Section 3: Strengthening
(Some of these are also dynamic stretches and heart rate raisers, but I put them in a separate section as I like to include them in addition to the others)
- Lunges / Reverse Lunches: Good for your hips, glutes, quads and hamstrings. Keep the knee over the ankle. 00:09
- Bird Dogs: Great one for your core and your back. Try to create a straight line from your foot to your hand 00:23
- Split Squats: Good for quads and glutes, and to increase lower body mobility. Again, knee over ankle 00:40
- Squats: Quads, hamstrings and calves. Also good for the core. 00:49
- Arm Scissors: Good for your arms and shoulders. Keep your arms at shoulder height and keep them strong, don't just swing them 1:02
- Inchworms: Full upper body warm-up. I like to bring mine in to a downward dog stretch before walking my hands back out 1:10
- Plank: Tough but good for your full upper body - back, chest, shoulders, neck, and abs. don't raise the hips and try to hold that straight line. 1:32
- Push Ups: Another upper body one. Great for triceps, chest and shoulders. Keep the core engaged as you lower yourself. If it's too hard, do this with your knees on the floor. Elbows go out slightly and back, not straight out. 1:41
- Tricep Dips: Good one for the triceps, shoulders and chest. You can do these on the floor or I prefer to use a chair. Bend your elbows back not out. 1:50
- Mountain Climbers: These are a great all round full body exercise. Be sure to maintain the plank position. See how fast you can do them 1:57
- Standing Glute Kickbacks: For your glutes and hamstrings. Keep your core engaged for balance 2:05
- Bridges / Single Leg bridges: Good for glutes and hamstrings as well as the hips and lower back. Squeeze your muscles as you raise the hips. Raising one leg adds more intensity. 2:13
So that's your lot for now. A combination of exercises from all 3 sections will always make sure you are nice and warm and ready to train. So pop on some music, get moving and above all, stay cheery!
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