Good Exercises for Cheerleading and Tumbling
Today's cheerleaders have to cheer, dance, jump, tumble and stunt. The elite level of athleticism currently in cheerleading requires extensive training in all of these areas. Work out daily, including endurance, strength, flexibility and balance training in your fitness regimen. As often as possible, choose cheerleading-inspired exercises to train your muscles in the way they will be called on when performing.
Jump drills build endurance while improving your jump form. Try to perform at least five sets of jump drills at every cheerleading workout. Do the drills with all of your cheerleading jumps: tucks, toe touches, pikes and others. Start on your toes with your feet together. Hold your arms above your head in a high V motion. Swing your arms down, crossing them in front of you as you bend your knees. Explode off the ground into your jump position. Land the jump with your knees slightly bent and immediately spring up into another repetition of the same jump. Do not take a preparation bounce between jumps. Continue executing jumps, one after the other, for five total jumps.
A V-up is a situp that builds strong core muscles for jumps, stunting and tumbling. V-ups also target your hip flexor muscles that lift your legs in your jumps. Lie on your back with your arms extended overhead. Pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine. Lift your upper and lower body off the ground at the same time so you form the shape of a V. Slowly lower back down to the starting position but do not allow your arms or legs to touch the ground between V-ups. Execute 10 V-ups before taking a break. Work up to performing five to 10 sets of 10 V-ups.
A wider straddle position helps improve the look of your jumps and kicks. Use a wall straddle to help you improve the range of motion in your straddle position. Lie on your back with your rear end against a wall and your straight legs extended along the wall with your feet pointing up to the ceiling. Straddle your legs, allowing gravity to pull your feet toward the ground. Keep your legs straight and your toes pointed. Your knees should point toward your head.
At the base of many tumbling skills is a simple handstand. Cartwheels, roundoffs and back handsprings all call heavily upon proper handstand form. Drill your handstand form against a wall to perfect and memorize your body position. Lunge with one foot forward and kick up into a handstand against the wall. Your hands should be directly under your shoulders. Pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine to hollow out your body. Keep your legs straight and together with your toes pointed.
Based in Wisconsin farm country, Jami Kastner has been writing professionally since 2009 and has had many articles published online. Kastner uses her experience as a former teacher, coach and fitness instructor as a starting point for her writing. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in secondary education from Trinity International University.