To take your cheerleading team to the next level, incorporate cheerleading exercises for flyers that help them stunt and tumble more effectively. Flyers must keep their bodies tight, flexible and strong in order to perform cheerleading skills, so add strength and flexibility training to your weekly workout schedule.
Maintaining the Flyer Body Type
In order to lift, flip and catch a flyer, she must keep a lean body frame. Healthy eating and regular exercise will help her stay in performance-ready shape.
Types of Cheerleading Exercises for Flyers
Cardiovascular exercise increases your heart rate and rhythmic movements of the major muscle groups. Most coaches suggest that flyers add cardiovascular exercise that also tones the muscles used during cheerleading. This might include activities like cycling, running or dance. Cardio also helps with weight maintenance, so your flyer should get 30 minutes of cardio five to six days each week.
Strength Training Exercise
Even though flyers are small, they're also very strong. Flyers should be able to support their own weight by focusing on upper-body strength. This will help them "lift themselves" as they move into position atop their base. Also, flyers need to hone their balance, focusing on strengthening the core stabilizers of the hips, back and abs.
Upper Body Exercises
Incorporate body-weight exercises to increase upper body strength in your flyers.
- Push-ups: Have your flying team kneel on the ground, placing their hands on the floor directly under their shoulders. Instruct them to extend their legs behind them, balancing on their hands and toes. Check their body form to make sure they're forming a straight line between their head and heels. Tell them to bend their elbows, lowering their bodies toward the ground. When their elbows form a 90-degree angle, they should return to the starting position and repeat. You want your girls to aim to perform at least 20 push-ups with perfect form.
- Pull-ups: Team your flyers up into groups of two. Using a pull-up bar, instruct the first team member to grasp the bar, arms angled out slightly. When she's ready, tell her to tighten her back and upper body, bending her elbows and pulling her body up toward the bar. If she's unable to perform the movement herself, instruct her teammate to hold her rib cage from behind, helping her lift herself to the bar. When her chin reaches bar-height, she should slowly return herself to the starting position. This may take time, but work to the point where all the flyers can perform five to ten pull-ups unassisted.
Use balance tools to enhance your flyers' balancing ability.
- One-Leg BOSU Balance Ball Toss: Team your flyers up into groups of two. Each group should have two BOSU balls and a medicine ball. Position the BOSU balls approximately five feet apart, the rounded part of the ball on the ground. Both team members should stand on the flat part of the BOSU, moving one foot to the center of the ball before lifting their opposite foot. When both cheerleaders are ready, the team should start passing the medicine ball back and forth. The action of passing and catching the ball while balancing on an unstable surface will engage the core and stabilizer muscles. After 30 seconds on one leg, switch legs and continue.
Set aside 15 to 20 minutes of each practice specifically for stretching. Increasing flexibility will help prevent injury and will enable your flyers to hit the hard stunts and positions in the air. Flyers should concentrate especially on increasing their flexibility in the hamstrings, hips and back.
- Seated Hamstring Stretch: Stretch the flyers hamstrings and low back with the seated hamstring stretch. Instruct your flyers to sit on the ground, with their legs spread wide in front of them. The cheerleaders should bend forward, reaching as far as they can in front of them, holding the position for 20 to 30 seconds. Next, they should reach to the left foot, followed by the right foot, holding each position for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Butterfly: To stretch the hips, have your flyers sit on the ground, drawing their heels in toward their bodies, splaying their hips out to the sides with the bottoms of their feet touching. Instruct them to grab their ankles and lean forward, using their elbows to press their knees closer to the ground. Hold the position for 40 to 60 seconds.
Flyers aren't the only ones who can benefit from strength, cardio and flexibility exercises. To make your entire team better, incorporate these cheerleading exercises for flyers into your workouts, enhancing the athleticism of your entire squad.