Cheerleading Exercises for Flyers

Cheerleader Holding Pompoms, Jumping and Cheering

The intense sport of cheerleading requires specialized workouts for all members, including flyers -- the cheerleader at the top of pyramids and stunts. Flyers are often lightweight and short, but don't let their small stature fool you. These athletes need strength and flexibility. Cheerleading exercises for flyers build balance and muscles and increase range of motion.

Balance Exercises

Flyers and bases -- the cheerleaders at the bottom of pyramids and stunts -- work together, and often flyers must stand on a base's shoulders or in his or her hands. This creates an unstable surface, so the flyer needs to have stellar balance. You can develop your balance by practicing one-legged poses, such as the heel stretch, scorpion and liberty, while standing on a stability disk. A stability disk is a small, inflatable piece of exercise equipment also known as a wobble cushion. To get the same benefits without the wobble cushion, stand on your bed and perform one-legged poses. This exercise improves balance and strengthens the ankle to provide more stability when doing cheerleading stunts.

Strength Exercises

Flyers require muscle strength to maintain body position in the air but also need a powerful lower body for partner stunts. During partner stunts, the base throws the flyer into the air from a position where both are standing on the ground. But it's not just the base doing all the work because the flyer executes an explosive jump as an assist to the base. To develop strength, incorporate jump roping into your exercise routine. This will not only improve your cardiovascular health, but will improve your leg strength in the muscles necessary for jumping. Squats, an exercise typically performed with a barbell, also approximate the jumping movement -- without the actual jump -- and strengthen the lower body. To do this exercise, stand upright on a flat surface with your feet shoulder-distance apart and balance a barbell, with or without weights, behind your neck at the top of your shoulders. Bend your knees and lower your body, keeping your chest and shoulders upright, until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Return to your starting position and repeat for the appropriate number of reps. For safety, do this exercise on a Smith machine or engage a partner to stand behind you for spotting purposes.

Flexibility Exercises

Woman doing yoga

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Flyers do a variety of acrobatics in the air, ranging from dynamic flips to held stunts, such as heel stretches. To do these moves, you will need a lot of flexibility, so doing exercises to increase range of motion is important. Incorporating yoga into your routine provides a path to greater flexibility, and several of the yoga poses, or asanas, mimic cheerleading stunts. For instance, the dancer's pose, also called natarajasana in Sanskrit, is like the scorpion stunt in cheerleading. To do this pose, begin by standing upright on an even surface. Bend your left knee and grip your left foot with your left hand. Find your balance while standing on your right leg, and while keeping your chest upright, bend forward slightly. Pull your left leg up and behind your head, arching your back. Other yoga poses to try include the standing hand-to-big toe pose, similar to the heel stretch, and the standing split pose, which also mimics the heel stretch.


Cheerleading is a dangerous sport, so keep this is mind when training and doing exercises to be a flyer. A 2007 report from the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research indicates that half of catastrophic sports injuries among high school and college women athletes, including ten fatalities, derive from cheerleading, and those types of injuries are on the rise because of ever more complicated and risky cheerleading stunts. Flyers suffered the majority of these injuries. Doing exercises to improve your balance, flexibility and strength may help you prevent some injuries, but always practice with the appropriate number of skilled spotters and be sure the bases you work with are properly trained.