How to Stretch for a Bow and Arrow in Cheerleading

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A bow and arrow is an advanced extended stunt in cheerleading. It requires great balance and leg and hip flexor flexibility on the part of the flyer, along with strength in the base. This stunt can be performed in a coed partner or all-girl style, with either two or three bases. It can include a variety of dismounts and entries to increase the difficulty after the basic technique is mastered.

Bow and arrow by Hawaii Pacific University Cheerleaders.
(www.hpu.edu, www.inmagine.com, www.dance.about.com)

Things You'll Need

  • Chair or other stable object (optional)
  • Yoga band (optional)
Step 1

Because leg flexibility is so vital to pulling a good bow and arrow, it is important to stretch your legs in a straddle stretch every day, at least once a day. Make sure to stretch to the left, right and center each time, holding each stretch for at least 15 seconds.

Straddle stretches work wonders at increasing leg flexibility.
Step 2

Doing the splits (left, right and center) also will be beneficial to getting your bow and arrow, since a "bow" is essentially a standing left split (or right, if the flyer is standing on the opposite leg).

This cheerleader makes the splits look easy, but it takes many people a great deal of practice to become this limber.
Step 3

It can be useful to have a buddy help you stretch. In this single-leg assisted stretch, you are basically doing a bow while lying down. Lie on your back with your legs straight out and have your partner push one leg back toward your head. Hold this stretch for at least 15 seconds.

Buddy stretches increase flexibility quickly and are often used by dancers, cheerleaders and gymnasts.
Step 4

When you have become flexible enough to pull your leg up high enough for a proper bow and arrow, begin practicing it every day while standing. It may take a lot of practice to balance the stunt properly, but it will come with time.

This cheerleader is ready to take her bow airborne.
Step 5

After perfecting your bow on the ground, you are ready to pull it in your stunt group. It may take several tries before your group makes the stunt stable and elegant, but it will be well worth the hard work when you have finally accomplished it.

These Sioux cheerleaders demonstrate a good coed bow and arrow.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stretch every day, at least once a day, for the quickest results.
  • You can use a chair or other stable object to hold on to for balance while stretching.
  • You can also use a yoga band to help pull your leg to your head.
  • Never stretch to the point of extreme pain. This could result in pulling or tearing a muscle.
  • Never stunt without appropriate supervision and spotters.
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