Cheerleading Pyramids

<em>The Official Cheerleader's Handbook</em> by Randy Neil and Elaine Hart

Cheerleading pyramids require skilled stunting, a trust amongst the squad, and perhaps most importantly, a keen awareness of safety.

Cheerleading Pyramid Terms

Cheerleading pyramids are essentially one big train of stunting activity. By creatively combining lifts, poses and dismounts, you end up with a sort of mega stunt that is visually impressive. It's important that all the squad members are on the same page. So, when you're teaching cheerleading pyramids to the squad for the first time, it is good to start with the right vocabulary.

  • Flyer: The flyer is the very top of the pyramid. She is known as the flyer because she will "fly" back down to safety.
  • Base: The base is the person on the bottom of the pyramid.
  • One-and-a-half-high: This refers to the levels of the pyramid and means the pyramid is the height of one person plus half of the height of another.
  • Two-high: The pyramid is the height of two people.
  • Two-and-a-half-high: The pyramid is the height of two and a half people. These pyramids are sometimes illegal in cheerleading competitions for certain squads. They also require an additional spotter in the front and the back for the top tier flyer.

How to Build a Pyramid

A pyramid, can be dissected into several parts:

  • The transition or set up: This is when all the cheerleaders get into place.
  • The load: This refers to the manner in which you get the flyer to the top.
  • The "hit": Hitting a pyramid is when you strike your final pose so that your audience can see the pyramid.
  • The dismount: The flyer dismounts when she jumps off the pyramid and lands safely on the ground.

When you first begin working on a new pyramid, it's important that you go slowly and take time to make sure everyone knows what they are doing. Safety, above everything else, needs to be your first concern. Follow this step by step guide for building the best cheerleading pyramids.

Setting It Up

Have you ever gone through an entire stunt sequence, explaining every move and transition in detail only to find your squad staring blankly back at you? The first step in executing a great cheerleading pyramid is to figure out what it will look like at the end.

Try arranging your flyers on the floor first. You can use spotters to help if needed. But the idea is to see how the pyramid will look before you put your flyers up in the air. Also, this will allow them to become comfortable with the body position needed to "hit" the pyramid in the air. If that doesn't work, draw a picture.

Partner Stunting

One sure fire way to miss your pyramid is to not have solid stunting skills. Before you ever attempt to link a pyramid together, spend some time making sure that your flyers can hit their stunts on cue perfectly. At times, this might seem like a tedious step, but consider it an important safety step. If your pyramid is two-and-a-half-high, your mid-bases need to be completely confident in their body positions and what they're doing before you ever attempt to load the top flyer.

Dismounts

Everyone in the entire pyramid needs to be clear on how the flyer is going to dismount. Spotters especially need to be aware of their positions and their role in the dismount. The flyer needs to be confident in executing her dismount. One way to make sure that everyone in the entire pyramid knows what to do is to break it down into sections and practice the appropriate dismounting.

Five Steps To a Cheerleading Pyramid

Three girls in pyramid

1. Break up the pyramid into sections or sides. Build each side one at a time before putting it together. Use extra spotters and catchers the fist time.2. Load the mid-bases. Make sure they are solid and steady.

3. Load the top flyers.

4. If the flyer comes down but the mid-bases remain, load the flyer again. If the flyer still can't hit it, take a break to avoid fatiguing the bases.

5. Once the top flyer gets in position and hits it, have her dismount first. Next the mid-bases should dismount.

After everyone can hit all their positions, putting it together should be very easy!

Popular Pyramid Stunts

Watch cheerleaders form various pyramids.

  • Simple Pyramid: This is a junior All Star squad working on pyramid practice. The thing to notice in this video is how alternating the timing between the different sides of the pyramids creates better visual appeal and makes the stunt look more difficult than it is.
  • Inside Hitch: This is called an inside hitch because the final "hitch" pose (foot on thigh of middle flyer) is on the inside. Note the cradle dismount at the end.
  • The Wolf Wall Pyramid: Note how this wolf wall goes up in what seems like one fluid motion. The goal is to always work completely as a team so that it seems as if you are simply an extension of one another.
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Cheerleading Pyramids