Improving Cheerleading Jumps

toe touch jump

With a little effort and hard work, you can begin working on improving cheerleading jumps. Improving your cheerleading jumps means that you're not only executing higher cheerleading jumps, but that you're executing them correctly. No sloppy arms or legs allowed!

A Good Jump Requires. . .

Many people think that your jumps will automatically improve if you can do higher cheerleading jumps. However, there's much more to a good jump in cheerleading than just height.

Flexibility

Most cheerleading jumps require great flexibility. For example consider a toe touch jump. The cheerleader must be able to do the splits in the air and touch her toes. In fact, there are several jumps that require touching toes such as a pike, a herkie and the hurdler. In order to reach the positions quickly, you must be flexible.

Timing

There's more to jumping that just hurling yourself in the air. Generally, jumps are done on a four count with the jump happening on count three and the landing happening on count four. However, if your entire squad is doing a jump for a routine, you must have good timing to be able to execute the jump and stick the landing at the same time as the rest of your squad.

Muscles

There's no getting around it, if you're serious about improving your cheerleading jumps, you have to have strong leg and arm muscles. While your leg muscles will help you achieve the height necessary to jump, your arm muscles have to be able to remain stiff so you don't look wobbly mid-air. Not only that but believe it or not, jumping is aided by your arm muscles.

Drills and Exercises for Improving Cheerleading Jumps

Here are a few drills for improving cheerleading jumps and making sure you stick the landings every time.

Strength Training

Your leg, arm and stomach muscles must be strong. Cheerleaders should have a regular aerobic workout along with a regular strength training program. The squad's coach or athletic trainer is responsible for helping the girls find something suitable based on their age and skill level.

Straight Jumps

Doing straight jumps will help improve a cheerleader's timing without working on a specific form for a jump. Instead of doing a specific jump, the cheerleader will substitute a straight jump holding her arms in a "T" position with legs together and toes pointed. This will serve to strengthen calf muscles and will also help a cheerleader get a sense of how the arms are used for higher cheerleading jumps. The timing will look something like this:

Counts 1 & 2: Clasp hands
Counts 3 & 4: High V position
Count 5: Bend
Count 6: Execute jump
Counts 7 & 8: Land and back to position

Snap Ups

The athlete starts by laying back down on the floor with her arms and legs straight. Then, on a cue, she "snaps" up into a sitting position with her legs in the toe touch position. This serves to strengthen the core (this will help make the cheerleader more "stiff" for stunting), and it also serves in teaching her proper positioning and timing.

Standing Snap Ups

Standing snap ups will serve to strengthen legs and help with proper form. The cheerleader should stand with her arms in a "T" position. Working one leg at a time, on a cue, she should "snap" her leg quickly to her outstretched hand.

Practice, Practice Practice

It almost goes without saying that you need to practice your jumps until you have them. Here are a few practicing tips to get you started:

  • Practice to music to help get the timing of the jump down.
  • Practice positions on the floor when possible.
  • Practice with a spotter when you're learning a new position. This will allow you to worry more about your position than your height.

Five Tips for Higher Cheerleading Jumps

Aside from daily (or almost daily practice), here are five tips that you can use to get more height on those cheerleading jumps.

Tip One: Use Those Arms

The swinging and pumping motion that you go through when you are preparing to jump serves to help you in jumping higher.

Tip Two: Keep Your Chest Up

It is instinctive and natural to want to "ball up" and pull your chest and torso towards your legs. Bringing your legs to your chest will diminish the height of your jump.

Tip Three: Stay Stiff

Not only will staying stiff help you with cheerleading stunts, it will also help you achieve higher cheerleading jumps. Believe it or not, being wobbly makes you less aerodynamic.

Tip Four: Don't Underestimate Visualization

Visualize yourself performing higher cheerleading jumps. Visualize yourself sticking the landing perfectly. If the jump you're working on is part of a routine, visualize the whole routine, jump and all, performed perfectly. Visualizing helps your body put into practice what your mind sees!

Tip Five: Work On Flexibility

Cheerleaders not only have to practice their sport, but work out regularly during the week to increase stamina and muscles. Those things are important for achieving higher cheerleading jumps, but they're also an important part of increasing your flexibility. The more flexible you are, the easier it will be to perform your jumps in good form. Having good form actually helps you get yourself higher off the ground.

Cheerleading Is Hard Work

Cheerleaders from All Star squads work out at least five times per week. They are either in practice, or doing some other type of exercise. Being a top athlete always takes hard work and dedication, and cheerleading is no exception.

Improving Cheerleading Jumps