As an Osteopath and Cheerleader, I know how important it is to look after your body during the competition season and stay injury free. Here are four habits you can adopt now to reduce the risk of injury this Cheerleading season.
- Make sure you warm up and cool down at each training:
Warming up before training reduces the risk of injury. It is really important for flyers to incorporate both dynamic and static stretches when warming up their lines. Even if you are flexible, the risk of straining or overstretching a muscle is much greater if you don’t warm up properly before training.
Bases need to warm up too. Warming up all muscles, especially your wrists, elbows and shoulders as well as a good leg warm up will make sure you’re using the right muscles when basing and will reduce the risk of injury.
Cool down is also important! Finishing training straight after a full out without cooling down is not a great idea. Incorporating low intensity mobility movements and stretching into your cool down will help with muscle recovery and decrease muscle soreness in the days following training.
If your team doesn’t run a thorough warm up and cool down – get to training 15 minutes early and do your own. Take 10 minutes after class to cool down as well, your body will thank you for it!
- Applying corrections to technique:
When a coach gives you a correction on your technique – take note! Sure you might be hitting your full up or landing your back-handspring, but if you’re catching the foot with your wrist twisted or consistently landing your flip short, you risk injuring your wrist or your ankles.
Your coaches are there to help you. If anything isn’t feeling quite right – ask your coach for feedback on technique. You can ask them to video you completing the skill so you can watch it back and visualise what needs changing.
- Repetition or over training:
As much as you might desperately want your back tuck in time for Winterfest, throwing 50 tucks a day 7 days a week can actually cause injury. One of the great things about cheerleading is that it’s a whole body sport. However, if you over train one skill, you increase the risk of an overuse injury in the muscles and joints used for that skill.
Make sure your training and drills are varied to overcome this risk. It is also important to make sure you have the right balance of training and rest days for your age and level. This is something I can advise you on as part of your Osteopathic management plan.
- Correcting muscle imbalances and strengthening any weaknesses:
Prevention is key to an injury free season. If you strengthen any weak muscles and correct any muscles imbalances at the start of the season, you reduce the risk of injury down the track.
A treatment at the beginning of the Cheerleading season is a great way to flag any potential injury risks and manage them before they progress to injuries at competition time.
With my background in treating Cheerleaders and competing myself, I have a great understanding of the sport and possible cheerleading injuries. I am able to help my clients reduce the risk of injury through a thorough sport specific assessment, treatment and exercise prescription.
Due to the nature of Cheerleading, some injuries are unavoidable. In these instances, treatment from a practitioner who understands Cheerleading will enable you to return to training as safely and quickly as possible. At Beyond we have Osteopathy, Exercise Physiology, Podiatry, Myotherapy and Clinical Pilates under the one roof. This enables me to work with the team at Beyond to ensure you’re getting the right management to help you go from strength to strength at Cheerleading this season!