The first 10 minutes of practice/training is incredibly important and often wasted. In turn, the rest of practice is wasted because athletes were not properly warmed-up at the start of the session.

These first 10 minutes of practice are crucial to how the rest of the training session will go. However, you don’t have to keep your warm-up boring. Use the first 10 minutes of practice to further your team’s skills and abilities. Believe it or not, it’s really easy to DRILL, PUSH, and PREVENT injuries while warming the team up.

A proper, effective warm-up should:

  • Increase the heart rate and blood flow to the muscles.
  • Allow synovium to lubricate the joints.
  • Gradually give joints mobility to reduce injury.
  • Activate the brain/body to be more responsive during training. 

Think about how much time is wasted at practice… Time spent on fixing body positions during the rest of training? Drilling jump counts? Rest and dealing with injuries? It’s easy to use the first 10 minutes of practice to prevent all of these thing. Well-structured warm-ups should be used to build endurance for full-out routines, drill basic techniques and muscle memory (keeping a straight back while basing, posture, keeping chest up, etc.), learning to work with music, and more. 

 Some ideas to get you started include:

  • A 3-4 min HIGH-INTENSITY, skill-specific, functional, drilling cardio activity for cheerleading.
  • Get your athletes’ heart rates above 85% of their maximum heart rate.
  • A cardio warm-up with drills designed specifically for your team and fixing common problems or execution errors.
  • Drills and games that are fun and also serve a purpose for a cheerleading skill.
  • Mobility stretches that prepare the body without compromising its joints.

What do you do for your cheer team/squad warm-ups? What works best for certain types of practices?