How to Do a Heel Stretch

Four Parts:Warming UpDoing the MoveHolding the Heel StretchPerforming the Front Heel Stretch

A heel stretch is a basic cheerleading stunt that is done on one leg. Although it sounds like a warm-up stretch, it is actually a move that requires a lot of strength and flexibility. The heel stretch takes some time and practice to master, but once you’ve got it, it will look impressive and effortless.

Part 1
Warming Up

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    Get moving. Before you stretch, jog or power walk for about 5 minutes to loosen and warm your muscles.
    • Warming your muscles up before stretching makes them more pliable.
    • Stretching cold, tight muscles may decrease your strength and keep you from performing to your best ability.[1]
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    Stretch your muscles. After warming up, start stretching your muscles, paying particular attention to your legs.
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    Practice kicking the leg that will be in the air. This will warm and stretch your leg muscles even more, and will also help prepare your leg for a high kick.
    • Kick your leg back and forth, like you would kick a ball.[2]
    • Practice these kicks for about 15-20 repetitions.Try to kick higher each time.

Part 2
Doing the Move

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    Kick your leg up high. Stand with your feet together and your legs straight, then kick your leg as high as it will go.
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    Catch your foot by the heel. If you’re kicking your left leg, catch it with your left hand. If you’re kicking your right leg, catch it with your right hand.
    • Most beginners won’t be able to do this on the first try. Start by grabbing the heel that will be in the air, do a quick dip, and pull the leg up. This will help you practice the move until you get more advanced.
    • It also helps to have a partner stand in front of you if you’re a beginner. Then you can put your leg on your partner’s shoulder, and when you’re ready, have them move away until you’re holding the pose on your own.
    • Your hand should be on the bottom outside of your heel.
    • Do not grab your toes. It will make you lean forward, which is not proper form.
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    Pull your leg to your torso. Your leg should be parallel to your torso, or at a 45 degree angle from your body.
    • This requires some balance, so don’t feel bad if you stumble or drop your leg.
    • If your legs are long, this will require some extra flexibility.
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    Point your toe and turn your leg out from the socket. This will help you straighten your leg and remain stable.
    • Do not turn your leg out from the knee, as this can cause serious injury.

Part 3
Holding the Heel Stretch

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    Bring your other arm into a "High-V". The hand not holding your leg should be closed into a fist.
    • Pulling the other arm into the “High-V” is the correct way to do the move stylistically, but it also helps you keep your balance.
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    Keep your core muscles engaged and your base leg straight. Your knee should be unlocked but straight, and your body should be tight.
    • Locking your knee can be dangerous. Keep it very slightly bent to avoid injury.
    • Keeping your core tight will help you maintain your balance while holding the heel stretch.
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    Stay balanced using your entire body. Focus on the muscles in your lower body and the posture of your upper body in order to stay balanced.
    • The foot on the floor should be firmly planted. Your body weight should be evenly distributed through the heel, ball, inner, and outer sides of the foot.[3]
    • The thigh and calf muscles in your standing leg should be held firm and straight. Tighten these muscles to keep from wobbling or jutting your hip out.
    • Your back should be straight with your chest and chin held up. Keeping the upper body strong and lifted will help you stay balanced.[4]
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    Remember to smile. When done properly, the heel stretch should look easy and graceful.[5]

Part 4
Performing the Front Heel Stretch

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    Begin in the heel stretch position with your leg extended to the side. Prepare to move the extended leg forward by dropping the hip down.
    • This move is intended for advanced cheerleaders who have perfected the side heel stretch.
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    Shift the extended leg to the front, keeping the hand on your heel. Use the hand holding your heel to help move your leg around to the front of your body.
    • This movement is more difficult and requires extreme balance and strength.
    • Do not bend either leg when moving the leg front. Keeping the leg straight will force the hips to shift down and straighten.
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    Hold the leg in front with two hands. Move the other arm out of the “V” fist position and use both hands to grip the bottom of the foot, holding the leg straight in front.
    • The leg should stay long and extended straight up.


  • Practice the heel stretch in front of a mirror to see what tweaks to make to your form.
  • Almost anyone can learn to do this move. It just takes days of continuous practice and commitment.
  • Be careful and do not try this if you have not practiced the move before.
  • The heel stretch should always be perfected on the ground before moving to the air.[6]


  • You have to be very flexible to do this. You can pull or tear a muscle, which is not very fun!
  • It may be painful to do this move at first, but just keep stretching and working on your flexibility.

Article Info

Categories: Warm Ups Stretching and Flexibility