Stunting Tips for Flyers by The Cheer Kin, Deryn
Many tips for flyers involve flexibility improvement or strengthening of major muscle groups, such as the quads or glutes. Although those things are definitely necessary, you don’t want to miss out on the small things you can do to improve your flying skills.
One of the most important “small” things you can do is work on your ankle stability. Ankle stability is required to stand still in the air, feel stable in your stunts, help prevent yourself from falling, pull your body positions effortlessly and make it easier for your bases to hold you.
Ankle stability can be improved by doing the following:
1) Ankle and Foot Strengthening Exercises Strength in the foot and lower leg muscles will ensure your ankle joint can more easily resist movement, so you can stand as still as possible. Exercises such as calf raises are great for strengthening the back side of the lower leg.
To target smaller muscles in the foot and other areas of the lower leg, resistance bands will be your best friend! Position a band in various ways then move your foot in the opposite direction the band is pulling. For example, loop a band around the ball of your foot and hold each end of the band with your hands, while alternating between pointing and flexing your foot. The same concept can be applied to do movements like ankle inversion, eversion, adduction, abduction and dorsiflexion.
Simple ballet warm ups and conditioning exercises are also amazing for working the muscles of the foot and lower leg.
2) Standing on Unstable Surfaces Although flyers technically aren’t supposed to balance in their stunts (bases do the balancing), being good at it may prevent a fall. If bases make an error or don’t have a good grip, being able to catch your balance could keep you in the air.
Unstable surfaces you can stand on include a pillow, an air-filled balance disc, a Bosu ball and of course, a Stunt Trainer®️! Stunt Trainers are one of the best flying tools you can use, since they mimic a stunt group, offer a large range of motion for the ankle to move through, and they spin.
Using a Stunt Trainer®️ regularly can do the following:
- · Improve your balance
- · Strengthen the muscles surrounding the ankle joint, resulting in better ankle stability
- · Enhance your awareness of where your weight is placed during different skills/movements
- · Allow you to practice twisting skills, such as full ups, without a stunt group
Overall, doing any of the exercises mentioned will have a positive impact on your flying skills, but I suggest combining strength training with balance training for best results!
Deryn, BASc (Hons), MSc, R.Kin
About Our Guest Blogger: Deryn is a former allstar cheerleader, current coach, recent MSc graduate and Registered Kinesiologist. She created The Cheer Kin for two reasons: 1) To help cheerleaders reach their goals, and 2) To act as a credible source of information to educate athletes, coaches and parents on the science behind cheerleading. You can visit her website at www.thecheerkin.com for tons of valuable information to help you become the best cheerleader you can be.