Cheerleading Exercises for Bases
Bases are very important people on a cheerleading squad, even if their positions seem less flashy or dangerous compared to flyers'. Bases remain on the ground. They are the people on the bottom of the pyramid, who lift, throw and catch flyers or people doing stunts. Bases need immense strength to support the flyers but need to be flexible too. Bases especially need strength in their shoulders, legs and core.
Leg strength is important for bases so they have a stable base to support the weight of other cheerleaders during pyramids and stunts. Exercises such as the wall sit are beneficial for bases, who often hold static positions, such as when they are holding flyers up during stunts. To perform a wall sit, simply place your back against a wall, walk your feet out about 18 inches from the wall and bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then hold the position. Adding weights during leg exercises such as squats and lunges is another effective form of training, because bases must hold their own weight and that of other members of their squad.
Bases should perform strength training exercises for the shoulders so they are able to lift flyers up and hold them. When a base raises a flyer over her head, she is basically performing a shoulder press to lift a person. The dumbbell shoulder press can increase shoulder strength, using a similar motion to that of pressing or tossing a flyer upward. To perform a dumbbell shoulder press, stand holding dumbbells in front of your shoulders with your palms facing out and your elbows bent. Press the dumbbells straight upward. Dumbbells are ideal because you can modify the weight incrementally to increase strength as soon as you're ready. They also force each arm to work independently so one side won't get stronger than the other.
V sit-ups are a challenging exercise that cheerleaders use to improve core strength. Unlike a standard sit-up, the V sit-up requires movement in the upper and lower body. The V sit-up is basically a combination of a partial sit-up and leg raise. To perform the V sit-up, lie on your back with your arms straight on the floor over your head and your legs straight as well. Then, raise your arms, head, shoulders and legs toward the ceiling and toward each other as if to touch your toes. You can increase the difficulty by holding the end position for two seconds before lying back on the floor.
Bases do not require the same level of flexibility as flyers, but they should still stretch daily to increase flexibility. Bases must be able to perform front and side splits. Two stretches you can do to prepare for the splits are the pike stretch and the wide straddle stretch. To perform the pike stretch, sit with your legs straight and pull your toes toward you as you bend forward from the waist and get your nose as close to your legs as possible. To perform the wide straddle stretch, open your legs wide and bend forward to touch your chest to floor. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds.
Sarka-Jonae Miller has been a freelance writer and editor since 2003. She was a personal trainer for four years with certifications from AFAA and NASM. Miller also worked at 24 Hour Fitness, LA Fitness and as a mobile trainer. Her career in the fitness industry begin in 2000 as a martial arts, yoga and group exercise instructor. She graduated cum laude from Syracuse University.