No matter their stunting position, many cheerleaders have the goal to get a needle someday.
But working on a needle in the wrong way can do more damage than good, so it’s important to know the right techniques. It’s also beneficial to know exactly which types of stretches will get the best results.
Here you’ll learn about 2 of the most essential stretches you need to master to get that needle!
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A needle is a combination of back bending and splits, so in order to pull a needle, you’ll need to be able to do those 2 components separately.
1. Long bridges
A bridge is a classic back bending stretch, but there are many variations of it. Since needles require shoulder & upper back mobility as well as straight legs, you should aim to do “long” bridges:
The main goals for this type of bridge are to:
- Have your feet together
- Fully straighten both knees
- Push your shoulders past your hands
Want to learn more tips for cheerleading flyers? Check out this article: 4 Tips To Help Flyers Gain Confidence In The Air & Nail Their Positions
Once you can achieve those goals, you can increase the difficulty of the stretch by placing your feet closer to your hands and pushing your shoulders even further.
2. Flat splits
The second component of a needle is a front (left/right) split that is flat to the ground (no space visible underneath!). This is essential to ensure there is a vertical line from one foot to the other.
Training oversplits by elevating one or both feet will make regular splits a lot easier, and also make pulling a needle a piece of cake!
Rather than spending time trying to pull a needle when your bridge and splits are not fully ready, work on those components separately. Then, attempt a needle once you meet the criteria listed above.
For more needle stretching tips, read this “How to Get a Needle” article & for easy-to-follow stretching routines, check out The Cheer Kin’s flexibility training programs!
Cover photo from Snapped by Becca Clark.
Deryn, owner of the blog The Cheer Kin, is a Registered Kinesiologist, coach and former all-star cheerleader. She has a MSc in Sports Science and Rehabilitation, an Honours BASc in Kinesiology and a Diploma in Fitness and Health Promotion. With knowledge and training from high level gymnastics coaches and performance trainers for Olympic athletes, she offers cheer training programs and creates content to educate the cheer community.