Cheerleading jumps range from simple, quick jumps to more complex contortions. Jumps are used at sporting events as well as cheerleading competitions.
Common Cheerleading Jumps
There are certain jumps that you will see from squad to squad, state to state, and even country to country. While different coaches may have different names for these jumps, they are all executed the same way.
This is probably one of the most basic jumps you'll learn. This is often the first jump that cheerleaders learn, or that younger squads use. Arms are in a high V and legs go out, but knees face forward and not toward the sky.
Probably one of the most common jumps, the toe touch is fairly easy to perform. Arms are in a "T" position and legs are in a V, with knees pointing toward the sky or even backward a bit. Your hands will not touch your toes, despite the name.
This jump is seen sometimes in competitions. Legs are in front and the knees are tucked into the chest. Hands are to the sides in a "T".
Right or Left Hurdler
The Hurdler is a really nice looking jump that creates the appearance of a stunt. One leg will be in toe touch position, with knee pointing toward the sky, while the other leg is bent and the knee pointing down.
Anyone who has ever been to a gymnastics class is familiar with the term "pike". This simply means that your feet are pointed straight out parallel with the ground with the toes pointed. Arms are straight in front, reaching toward toes. Hands are in a fist.
This jump is a bit difficult to perform. The jumper does a pike, but then quickly moves the legs into a toe touch position before landing.
This cheerleading jump can be performed as a left of right Herkie. This jump is named after the founder of the National Cheerleading Association, Lawrence Herkimer. One leg is in toe touch formation and the other bent with the knee facing downward. Arms do the opposite of what the legs are doing in a "T". So, if the right leg is bent, the right arm is straight and vice versa.
This is a complicated jump, but not difficult to perform once it is learned. It's very similar to the pike jump, but one arm and one leg are both bent to leave the appearance of two 9s.
How to Jump
In order to improve jumps or master them, try to do exercises that strengthen calf muscles. Here are the basics in preparing to perform any of the above jumps.
- Starting Position: Position your feet together and you arms by your sides.
- Second Position: Clasp your hands, and then raise them into a high V in preparation for the jump.
- Third Position: Bend at the knees, and at the same time swing the arms down and cross them in front of the knees at the wrist.
- Fourth Position: This is where you jump. The power comes from your legs. The above steps are performed in rapid succession.
- Final Position: After the jump, land with your knees slightly bent and arms to your sides.
- After the Jump: Return to a standing position. Your arms can remain at your sides or be clasped in front of you.
Master the Jumps
Whether you are just getting ready for try outs or have been cheerleading for years, jumps are a basic staple in your cheerleading repertoire and should be mastered for optimum performance.