personal trainer outdoor boxing

Essential items for fitness instructors on the go

Whether you’re employed by a gym or working from home as a freelance fitness instructor you need the tools for your trade, and you need them with you at all times. Bodyweight exercises only get you (and your clients) so far, so it’s a good idea to have a variety of equipment in your car and in your gym bag to help you train your clients.

With that said, it’s not easy to carry around 20kg kettle bells with you so we’ve put together a list of essentials that will fit in the boot of your car or in your gym bag if you’re getting the bus or the train to your next appointment.

Essential items for fitness instructors on the go

Personal trainer outdoors

Smart phone

This is a must have. If you’re walking around with a  Nokia 3310 no one is interested in how high your snake score is (ok they might be, but that’s beside the point) a smart phone will have a stopwatch, music and if you download the right apps and purchase the compatible hardware – a heart rate monitor. There are a variety of great apps out there so shop around for what works best for you.

Yoga mat

A roll up mat is essential, as no one wants to be doing sit ups on concrete floors or prickles in the grass. Lightweight and easy to carry, just throw one in your bag.

Skipping rope

A skipping rope is lightweight and easy to carry as well. Skipping gets the heart pumping and helps warm up your clients

Collapsible traffic cones

Collapsible traffic cones are extremely cheap and easy to carry. Perfect for beep tests and circuit mapping especially in the outdoor arena.

Tape measure

For marking out distances when placing traffic cones of course!


Resistance bands

Resistance bands are very light and will fit into your kit bag with ease. Perfect for warm ups and of course, resistance training, these ingenious inventions will allow your clients to perform a variety of exercises without any weights. No one wants to carry dumbbells around!

personal trainer outdoor boxing

Boxing gloves and focus pads

Boxing is a great way to get your clients moving, get them sweating and work a variety of muscle groups. An essential kit bag item no fitness instructor should be without.

Of course your equipment will vary, especially if you have a car, so in that case you may need some stability balls, a step and if you can, a selection of light dumbbells, but for those who are travelling light these essentials will help you create a great workout for your clients.

Here at insure4sport we offer comprehensive insurance policies for personal trainers and fitness instructors that offer personal liability cover as well as comprehensive equipment cover against theft, loss or damage. Click here to get a quote today.

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football injury

Common injuries associated with sports

Any time we step onto the field, the court or the swimming pool, and regardless of the sport we play, we are at risk of sustaining an injury. No matter how much you warm up, how fit and agile you are, something can just give up on you at a moment’s notice or repetitive strain can decide “nope, we’re done here” and start causing havoc with your body. When this happens we really need to listen to our bodies and see a doctor or physiotherapist as the longer we ignore an injury the worse it can get.

You need to determine the difference between that “good” pain where you enjoy the burn, and that “oh no something is definitely wrong” pain where your body is telling you you’re causing damage by doing this – jolting pains, dull pains and serious fatigue is a sure sign your body is in distress. Failure to realise the difference can mean the difference between not being able to do those last few reps in the gym, and never ever being able to lift a weight again – so listen carefully.

We’ve put together some of the most common injuries associated with cycling, cricket and football, and what you can do to prevent injury.


cycling injury

Cyclists often suffer injuries due to over training, commonly known as overuse injuries. Cyclists are in the same position for extended periods of time and can develop injuries such as:

  • Sciatica
  • Hamstring strain
  • Knee pain
  • Handlebar palsy
  • Lower back pain
  • IT band syndrome (Iliotibial Band Syndrome)

Quick tips on preventing cycling injuries:

A vast majority of cycling injuries are easily prevented as recurring injuries are usually caused by a fall and overuse injuries are often caused due to poor set up of your bike, improper technique or incorrect posture. If you are finding that cycling is causing you pain see a doctor.

Correct set up

Have your bike set up by a professional and have a sports therapist take a look at your technique if you are considering competing or riding for long periods of time.

Warm up

An effective warm up and stretch routine will increase the temperature of muscles, increase blood flow and get your joints ready for the ride ahead. Stretching will help to loosen muscles and ligaments whilst increasing range of motion. Stretch your lower back as well as your legs but don’t forget the hips too! It’s a good idea to warm up your wrists as stiff wrists will start to ache considerably.

Healthy diet

Stay hydrated and as dehydrated muscles will cramp, consume protein to rebuild your muscles and eat healthy carbohydrates to refuel your body.


cricket injury

The most common injuries that cricketers suffer are ankle sprains, lower back pain and elbow/shoulder pains, but this will depend on the position in which they play. Cricket can be an explosive sport requiring players to dash from one area to another in an instant, so rolled ankles and Meniscus tears in the knee are quite common.

Bowlers may suffer more ankle and elbow problems whereas wicket keepers may start to suffer lower back pain due to standing in the same position for an extended amount of time. Fielders may also suffer shoulder or elbow injuries as the repetitive motion and the high forces associated with catching and throwing heavy cricket balls can put serious strain on joints.

Cricketers can develop the following injuries:

  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Impingement syndromes
  • Medial ligament injuries at the elbow
  • Throwers elbow (golfers elbow)
  • Lower back pain
  • Ankle sprains
  • Meniscus injuries

Quick tips on preventing cricket injuries:

Cricket is a fairly safe sport and requires those in direct danger of being hit by a ball to wear protection so injuries caused by wayward balls or bats are fairly uncommon. However, as cricketers in general are becoming fitter and sportsmen are pushing themselves further to improve their game, injuries can be caused by uncoordinated movement or can arise due to overuse.

Get those muscles warmed up

An effective warm up routine as well as stretching, conditioning and a good diet can really help reduce the risk of injuries. A gentle jog to warm up the legs and ankles will help get your body ready for the game and a stretching routine that works your lower back, hamstrings, calf muscles and shoulders will really help. if you’re standing in the field for an extended period of time, keep limber by stretching or jogging on the spot every 20 minutes or so.

Sports massage can help

Sports massage is also a good way of ironing out any problems and flushing out any muscle waste. Having a regular sports massage can also help identify any potential problems before they start to cause serious damage or become injuries that may affect your game.

Healthy diet

A healthy diet will help your body recover from training and exercise and give your body the correct fuel it needs. Hydration is important, especially on hot summer days. We all love to hit the bar after a game, but think twice before overdoing it. Our muscles need time to recover coupled with a healthy balanced meal packed with protein and good carbs.



Whether you’re a professional footballer or grass roots enthusiast playing the Sunday league, accidents and injuries on the pitch can happen. We’re talking about real injuries here – think the Djibril Cissé leg break in 2006 or the horrific concussion sustained by Germany’s Christoph Kramer in the 2014 World Cup and you realise just how dangerous a bad tackle can be.

Aside from a concussion here and there, football injuries occur predominantly in the legs, knees and ankles mainly through falls, slips or impact. Injuries can be sustained suddenly or through overuse resulting in chronic injuries. Some of the most common injuries associated with footballers are:

  • Hamstring strains
  • Knee ligament injuries
  • Metatarsal stress fractures

Quick tips on preventing football injuries:

Footballers push themselves harder and harder to improve their game and their skills on the pitch. Although football is an explosive and physically demanding sport, injuries are usually caused through lack of preparation. With a correct warm up and conditioning you won’t have to worry about football injuries ruining your season.

Did we mention warm ups?

To reduce the risk of injuries an effective warm up is a must. A light jog with intermediate sprints, stretches and hip rotation warm ups will help reduce the risk of injury.


Stretching is vital should you wish to keep your hamstrings in top condition. After a warm up consisting of 20-30 minutes of light drills, a good stretch that focuses on calves, hamstrings, hips and ankles as well as your lower back will really help loosen up muscles.

The FIFA 11+ programme is a great reference point for specific football stretches and warm up routines designed to reduce injuries in football.

Remember, always warm up before any physical activity, whether you’re playing ping pong or stepping on to the mat in your Jiu Jitsu class an effective warm up and stretching routine partnered with a healthy diet is the key to reducing injuries.

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personal trainer questions

The importance of screening your clients and the questions you should ask

Screening is a vital part of the initial process when taking on any new personal training clients. Health screening questionnaires as well as initial consultations not only help you find out if there are any health risks to be aware of but also helps you understand what your client’s goals are and how you can build a plan for them to achieve those goals based on their current health status or any past injuries. Any personal trainer worth their salt should have a bespoke client consultation form that they ask their new clients to fill out, so today we’re going to look at what questions you should ask and why.

Lifestyle questions

You need to establish just how healthy your client already is by taking in to account a variety of different aspects, as this will help you build a workout plan for them. These questions should include:

Occupation – They may lift heavy objects all day or they may be sat in an office so you need to create a workout based on these factors

Lifestyle – do they have an active or fairly inactive lifestyle?

Diet – do they eat healthy or are they stuffing their face with junk all day?

Drink alcohol – Does your client drink? This may affect their ability to lose or gain weight.

Stress levels – are they stressed out at work or in their daily life? Do they need a more relaxing workout or should they work their fury out on the pads with you?

Hours of sleep – sleep will affect energy levels and a person’s ability to recover from injuries or workouts. Finding out how much someone sleeps every day will help you craft an appropriate plan – not everyone gets 8hrs a night so be realistic when creating said plan.


Medical History

Asking your client to state as to whether they have any existing or previous medical problems is a vital part of the screening process. Failure to ask clients about this could result in legal action if they are injured whilst in your care. Aside from legal ramifications, you need to know whether your client has had something like a knee reconstruction, so therefore would not be able to squat as much, or suffer with asthma or heart problems so you know to go easy on the cardio. It is also vital that you are aware of whether or not your client has diabetes, and whether or not they are taking any medication, for legal and safety reasons.

Have they ever had a personal trainer before?

It’s also good practice to find out as much about your client’s needs and goals as possible. Part of this process is finding out whether they have been to see a personal instructor before and why they may have decided not to continue a program with that particular trainer. It could be something as simple as “they moved away” or more complex, like “we didn’t get along” or “I didn’t see any results”. This information will allow you to create a class and a workout that addresses any concerns and helps you figure out where the other PT got it wrong. This will also help you build a rapport with your client as it shows you are genuinely interested in their goals and are committed to not making the same mistakes.

“What are your goals?”

This is obviously the most important question to ask. Find out exactly what your clients want to achieve with their personal training regime and stick to realistic goals. You may feel that your client needs to lose weight, but their goals may be to build muscle. Build a workout plan based on what they want whilst mixing in certain exercises that you know will help them achieve those goals. You are fully aware that six pack abs are achieved with cardio as much as weight training, so explain that this is all part of the process.

Non-verbal communication screening

As a personal trainer it is your responsibility to motivate your client and help them to see the benefit this exercise is having on them. Part of your screening process should also include what your clients are telling you with their body language. Are they happy to be here or are they disinterested in the whole situation? You don’t always get the clients who are ecstatic about training, but you can try your hardest to motivate them and get them interested in the task at hand. Is your client bored with the conversation you are having? Are they nervous? If so, take action, walk them around the gym and discuss the different exercises you will be taking them through whilst getting them accustomed to their surroundings. If you find yourself in a situation where your client is looking bored whilst you’re training them, take action and change up the exercise or make the session more interactive. Being a good people watcher is a skill you need to have.

If you are a personal trainer or fitness instructor, it’s vital you have comprehensive insurance as this protects you should something go wrong whilst working with a client and also protects your equipment in the event of theft, loss or damage. Click here to get a quote for personal trainer insurance and get the cover you need today.

spin class

The importance of your class having an aim

As a fitness instructor you have a responsibility to guide your class or your personal training clients towards their fitness goals the best you can. Of course you can only show them the path towards success as it’s up to them to put in the hard yards outside of that 45 minute session where you’re actually shouting at them to push themselves, but you can help them feel like they’re achieving those goals by making sure your class has an aim.

You can only do so much in the way of encouraging them, but by showing your clients exactly why or how the exercise can affect them in a positive way, you stand more of a chance of retaining your clients and encouraging them to come back for more. This is why it’s extremely important for your class to have an aim or a goal. Is it bums and tums or a yoga session? Are you working the upper body today or are you burning fat in that spin class? In any case, your class has to have an aim, whether it’s empowering your clients by making them feel like they’ve really worked hard by burning off that extra latte or relaxing them whilst stretching out those aches and pains in your yoga class – it’s all about showing the positive effects of exercise and meditation. Aim to address a goal in your class and make sure your class walks out feeling like they’re on their way to achieving that goal.

Today we’re going to look at some common aims of classes based and the importance of sticking to that aim.

Weight loss:

No one is going to lose weight in one class, that’s fairly obvious, but that doesn’t mean you can’t burn calories in your session. If the aim of your class is to help clients lose weight or improve their fitness levels, then show them that your spin class will get results if they stick to it, and more importantly, come back regularly.  The aim here is to make your clients feel like they’re burning fat and that they’ve achieved something in the 45 minutes, so cardio heavy spin or kickboxing classes will really get people sweating, heart rates up and leave people feeling like they’ve worked hard and are on their way to reaching fitness goals.

Improve mobility:

Many people do not realise just how tight their muscles are and have absolutely no idea how exercise can improve mobility. Think back to how stretching helped you in a way that you never knew it could – the simple act of tying your shoe lace after a month of zero exercise is an effort compared to when you’re at you’re peak! With this in mind, you can tailor your classes to help people with their mobility and their flexibility. The aim here is to make people realise just how much they can improve on flexibility or mobility with your help. Yoga or Pilates is great for this as is boxing or kickboxing training. Not everyone can move around as much as a highly trained boxer but foot and pad work coupled with a great stretching routine will certainly allow people to realise how these exercises can help.

Toning up:

You’re going to get a lot of requests from your clients for exercises that will help them tone up. Whether they want that Kim Kardashian bum or Ryan Gosling washboard stomach, they’re not going to get there in one day, but you can sure put them on the right path. The aim here is to address those goals that your clients have and stick to it. They may be expecting to do 1,000 squats and wonder why you’re asking them to plank for 30 seconds at a time so explain the why’s first and get them working those areas they want to tone up. Is it bums and tums? Is it legs and thighs, or upper body? Either way, attack those areas and allow them to leave feeling like they’ve actually worked the areas they want to improve – you know that burpees help improve upper arm strength, but your clients may not, so finish on a killer abdominal exercise so your client feels like the six-pack abs are on their way.

Personal trainers need a comprehensive insurance policy to protect them in the event of an accident whilst they are training their clients. Should an accident happen whilst someone is in your care, you could be liable for any damages caused, so protect yourself today with specialist personal trainer insurance from insure4sport. Get an instant personal trainer/fitness instructor quote for personal trainer insurance now.


Kit Bag Essentials – Personal Trainers

Personal trainers and fitness instructors have heard every excuse in the book when it comes to reasons why a client couldn’t make it to training, cheated on their diet or “forgot” that they had a workout plan to stick to. But when the shoe is on the other foot, any excuses your end will make you look unprofessional and potentially turn clients away from you. If they have no confidence in your ability to remember simple things, such as a small as a timer or what day you were supposed to be training with them, they won’t feel confident that you can get them the results they’re looking for.

There are a variety of different essentials you need to have on hand when instructing classes or taking a one-to-one session with a client and if you forget these, you may just find your client’s confidence in you slipping. So as part of our monthly special, we’re looking at 7 essentials you must have in your kit bag.

Pen and Paper

pen and paper

Aside from the fact you need to keep track of your clients progress at all times, you can be struck by inspiration at any time. A new exercise that can really help your client may pop into your head, you may notice that they are struggling with something and you need to make a note about it, or they may have asked you a question that you need to find an answer for at home. In any case, a pen and paper should always be part of your kit bag.



Part of your job is pushing your clients so they work harder, but sometime your clients will push themselves harder than you would advise and turn up on an empty stomach. When this happens their blood sugar will drop leading to sickness, dizziness and in some cases they may pass out. Spot the signs early and offer them a small sweet like barley sugar or Haribo. They’ll need to stop training straight away, but they’ll feel a little better after a few minutes of rest and a little sugar back in their system.



Pick the most motivating music you can for your classes with a good mix of upbeat, triumphant tracks. More importantly, bring a backup for your class on CD. There’s nothing worse than trying to do a class without the appropriate music – gym radios are notoriously bad at choosing music, so bring your own. If you’re taking a class outside, use a portable sound system. And make sure it’s charged!!!

Spare Timer


If you’re running circuit training classes, cross fit classes or testing clients limits on the track or bike, you obviously need a timer. But often people forget about a spare timer. Just buy one and leave it in your bag. You may never need to use it, but on that occasion where you forget to bring your favourite timer you know you’ll have a backup in your kit bag somewhere. Buy it and forget about it until you need it.

Berocca’s or Vitamin C tablets


You’re more than likely taking vitamins as a personal trainer anyway, but on those occasions where you’re feeling a little under the weather, Berocca’s or vitamin c tablets such as Emergen-C will help keep those flu symptoms at bay. You can’t have an off day, so don’t allow those germs in the gym to affect you.

Spare clothes

gym clothes

You will be leading by example most of the time whilst you’re taking classes, which means you’ll likely be sweaty by the time your next client rolls up. Reduce the risk of looking like a drowned rat or smelling like you’ve been in the gym all day by taking a spare set of clothes. Spare underwear and socks are a must, and if possible a spare pair of shoes. Be prepared so nothing can stop your classes.

First aid kit

first aid kit

It’s a good idea to have a variety of bandages, disinfectant wipes and painkillers in your bag should you need them. A first aid kit on hand means you’re ready to attend should one of your clients suffer a small injury whilst under your care. Anything can go wrong even under the most watchful and experienced eyes, so be prepared for bruises, sprains, trips and falls with band-aids antiseptic sprays and ice packs.

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Best warm ups techniques – boxing

Boxing is one of the most intense sports in the world, a sport that demands extreme focus and dedication, both physically and mentally. Oh, and it’s also a really fun way of getting fit too!

Before you start thinking boxing is only for people who want to be able to step into the ring with the likes of Amir Khan and have to guzzle down eggs before a run like Rocky, think again. Boxing is a really great way of getting in shape, learning some self-defence skills and building your overall confidence – the best part is, anyone can do it.

Warming up before any sport is vital as it helps get your muscles ready for physical exertion and reduces the risk of causing damage to your muscles and organs significantly, but warming up before a boxing match, sparring or even boxing training is especially important.

Here are the best warm ups for boxers:

Skipping rope

Skipping rope is by far one of the best exercises a boxer can do to warm up as it loosens everything up, raises your heart rate, warms your body and your muscles up and prepares your body and breathing for what is to come. Whether you’re about to step foot into the ring or about to start sparring with your trainer, the skipping rope is the first thing you should be reaching for. Start with alternating steps and build up to higher knees after about 2 – 3 minutes. For the last part of the warm-up start jumping high and getting double rope turns per jump. A skipping warm up should last around 10 minutes. Alternate each exercise so you’re skipping normally for 4 minutes and double jumping for 1 minute.

Duck and weave

Tie a rope or piece of string from one corner of the ring to the other. Start at one end with the string just touching your right shoulder. With your guard up throw a 1-2 punch and then duck underneath as if someone has thrown a hook at you, come back up the other side whilst shuffling forward and throw a 1-2 punch again. Keep doing this whilst moving forward and keeping your back straight at all times until you reach the other end. Cross the ring 4-6 times. This will get your arms ready for throwing punches, your hips ready for ducking and weaving and help with your footwork.

Shadow sparring / shadow boxing

Shadow sparring is an essential part of your warm up and should never be skipped. This warm up technique gives your body a chance to practice the skills you need in the ring and will also start to activate all of the muscles needed for boxing. Start slow throwing single jabs and crosses, ideally in front of a mirror and then start throwing combinations whilst ducking and weaving. Move around whilst practicing your footwork and start increasing the ferocity and speed of your punches.

Parry return drills

Get in the ring with your partner and get them to start throwing punches at you at half the power they would normally throw them. Concentrate on parrying with a quick return and moving out of the way. Only ever throw one return and just focus on moving out of the way. Stay close so they’re not just chasing you – you want them to be able to throw the punch. This helps get you ready for moving around the ring and will encourage good blocking and parrying technique.

Pad work

No boxing warm up is complete without pad work. Start by throwing light jabs and crosses at your partner’s pads and then gradually increase the intensity and power. Move on to combinations with plenty of hooks, ducking, weaving and returning. This will really get your fists ready for the bout ahead. If you’re just doing it for exercise it will strengthen fist and work muscles you didn’t even know you had!

With these exercises in the can, you’ll be completely warmed up and ready to rumble. Enjoy.

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What to eat and what NOT to eat before exercising

Fuelling your body for that gruelling spin class or weight training session is essential. If you don’t have the right fuel in your tank you won’t have the energy to push yourself and achieve your fitness goals, and if you have the WRONG fuel – well, we’ve all been there on the squat rack or Zumba class and felt that mid workout crash hit us like a freight train and chances are it was because you ate the wrong thing before you started.

So today we’re going to look at 3 things you shouldn’t eat before a class and 3 things you should.

What not to eat before your workout

Working out on an empty stomach is not a good idea at all. If you starve yourself you simply won’t have any energy and will lose the ability to burn calories and maintain that concentration you need to really get through your workout. But steer clear of the following before you hit the gym:

Fizzy drinks


Carbonated drinks will cause gas and bloating in almost anyone, and the last thing you need is a case of gas whilst you’re busting out a downward dog or going for that last 100 metres on the treadmill. Aside from the gas and discomfort side of things, carbonated drinks are packed full of sugar. In fact 1 can of coke has 9 grams of sugar, which is around 9 teaspoons!  Energy drinks are just as bad for you as the sugar content is of a similar, if not worse amount. Although caffeine has proven to assist workout regimes, an espresso, green or black tea is a better option.

Ready-made smoothies


Smoothies are a fantastic source of energy and can really help you reach your nutrition goals. We actually covered just how good they can be in a previous blog which you can read here. However, store bought smoothies are usually pumped full of extra sugar, preservatives and all sorts of unhealthy added fats and other junk. Create your own using real fruit rather than juice and add a scoop of protein powder.

Rice cakes


These low calorie rice cakes may help stave off cravings throughout the day if you’re on a diet, but they contain almost no nutritional value whatsoever. With the addition of flavoured rice cakes to the market they now come with extra salt and sugar which of course helps them to taste better, but doesn’t really help with your workout.

What to eat before your workout

Ideally you want to fuel your body with the 300-500 calories of healthy carbohydrates 2 hours before your workout. However, if you don’t have time to eat a meal, a healthy snack of 50-100 calories 10 minutes before you exercise will give you the boost you need.



Bananas are a fantastic source of healthy fast acting carbohydrates that will give you the boost and fuel you need to survive that workout. However, you need to make sure that they’re ripe. Green bananas will cause uncomfortable gas and bloating. A banana with brown spots indicates it’s at the ripe stage and means the sugar content can be absorbed easily.



Oats are full of fibre and healthy carbohydrates that will release a steady supply of energy to get you through your workout. A bowl of oats with water or almond milk 2 hours before your routine will help give you the energy you need when your instructor is barking orders at you.

Dried nuts


If you haven’t had a chance to eat a full meal 2 hours before your workout a handful of dried nuts will give you that instant energy boost without giving a sluggish “I need to lie down because I’m so full” feeling. Unsalted peanuts, almonds and cashews are a great option – aim for organic if you can.

A good nutrition plan is just as, if not more important as a good exercise regime. Make sure you’re loading up on the right foods before you workout and you’ll be on your way to your fitness goals in no time.

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Cheerleader main image

Cheerleading warm up exercises

Warming up and stretching correctly before any form of exercise is essential if you want to avoid injury. Cheerleading will require almost every muscle in your body to engage and considering cheerleading is one of the most active sports around, you need to make sure your warm-up routine is just as active whilst working all of the muscles you’re about to use.

There is no strict routine that works better than others, but we have collected the most common and widely used warm up and stretching exercises that will help you get ready for practice.

Aerobic Warm Up Routine

Before you start practice make sure to focus on creating an aerobic warm up routine and then a dynamic stretching routine as this will reduce the chance of injury.

A great warm up routine moves your body in a variety of different directions. The best warm ups are usually:

  • Jogging either on the spot or around the gymnasium/field
  • Slides from side to side
  • Skipping
  • Lunges
  • Jogging backwards
  • Star jumps

You should always aim to warm up for around 10 minutes before you go on to stretches, this will loosen your muscles up and get them ready for the task at hand. Try and warm up so you feel a little tired, but don’t overdo it to the point where you are exhausted.


Stretching is the most important part of your routine. Never, ever skip stretching as you risk harming yourself if you fail to do so. As a cheerleader, you will use almost every part of your body, so be sure to stretch every part when preparing. Always aim to hold each stretch for 25-30 seconds before you start the next stretch. A good stretching routine will take around 10-15 minutes.

Some of the best stretches for cheerleaders are:

Hamstring stretches. Sit down and stretch one leg out whilst tucking the other into your groin. Reach for your toes and hold for 30 seconds. Alternatively spread both legs out and reach to either side for 20- 30 seconds at a time.


Hip stretches. In a standing position, spread your legs to double shoulder width and squat with your feet pointing outward. Tuck your elbows into your inner knee and squat as low as you can whilst pushing your knees out.

squat stretch

Quad stretches. Stand up and bend one knee backwards and catch your foot with the same hand. Stretch your quad by pulling your ankle towards your body all whilst balancing yourself.


Triceps stretches. Reach one hand up and then behind your back so your hand is touching the centre of your back. Push down gently with your opposite hand.


Shoulder stretches. Reach across your chest with one arm and pull it closer by grabbing underneath your elbow with your other arm.


Chest stretches. Hold your hands behind your back and gently raise them as high as you can whilst keeping your back straight.

arm behind back stretch

If at any time you feel these stretches are beginning to hurt or you do not feel like they are working, tell your coach or instructor immediately.

Ensuring that you are properly warmed up before practice will not only reduce the chances of injury but help you with your overall performance. So warm up, stretch and enjoy it!

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Coach talking to boys soccer team

How To Keep Younger Students Engaged

If you’re a sports instructor, you’ll know that one of the hardest things to do is to keep your younger students engaged at all times. Younger students will lose interest quickly if they are not motivated, so it’s up to you to make sure they are! Regardless of the sport, there a few things you can do that will encourage engagement from your little learners and turn even the most uninterested one into an attentive student.

Keep a high level of positivity at all times

Leave your baggage at the door before you set foot in the gym or on the pitch. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had a rough week, it’s not their fault, so put on a happy face! Children will feed off your positive energy, but they’ll also do the same with negativity. When you’re teaching younger students you need to maintain a positive attitude at all times as your students will follow your example. This can be attributed to the pieces of our brain known as mirror neurons. These mirror neurons are the reason why we yawn when we see someone else yawning. Children will mimic your attitude. If you are stressed, hunched over and physically depressed, kids will mimic that. If you maintain a positive vibe, smile and act as happy as you can, your students will act the same.

Single certain pupils out for public praise

If you’re running a drill, blocking a punch for example and you’re noticing one of your students is not as engaged as the others, single them out in a positive way. Run the drill and give them some one on one attention. Once they succeed at the drill, have all your other students gather round and use that student to show the rest of the class how it’s done. This will give that student a sense of achievement and make them feel great as their blocking technique has been singled out as the best. Other students will then be eager to succeed as they’ll want to show the rest of the class how good they are. Try this with different students throughout the session.

Praise, correct, praise.

You may find that your students aren’t responding to your critique. This may be your fault. When offering criticism to your students, make sure that it is constructive and hide that constructive criticism within praise. If your student is not following the correct kicking technique and you can see that it is because of their balance, praise, correct, praise is the key.

An example:

Get your student to show you the kick against a pad 3 times. Praise them on how well their guard is first and foremost and say something like this “Steve, that guard is fantastic, now what I want you to do is bend your knee when you kick this pad (the child then kicks the pad with correct technique). Well done, that is a perfect kick, great job.” In this scenario you hid the constructive criticism within two positives. The student learns what they are doing wrong, whilst feeling great about the situation.

Throw random activities in

If you’re running drills, this can become monotonous for little ones. A good way of breaking the monotony and waking your students up is to throw a random activity in. Let’s say you’re running basketball defence drills with your students and some are beginning to wane. All of a sudden shout out that you want them to do 5 push ups and 5 star jumps. This completely random activity will wake them up and help them re engage with what’s going on.

Be fun

Sport is supposed to be fun, so make sure you’re joking around with your students from time to time. Try and intersperse your lessons with fun activities, jokes and humour now and then. This will strengthen your bond with your students and really bring your session to life. You’re more than just a sports instructor, you’re trying to make a positive impact on their lives, so make sure you have a laugh with your students too.