The amount of athleticism required to be a good cheerleader leaves little doubt for the need for specific cheerleading workout. Tips for cheerleader workouts might seem like common sense but focusing on specific areas and honing your skills will get you much farther than randomly working out. Cheerleading requires aerobic conditioning, flexibility, and strength. Therefore, a cheerleader needs to stay in top physical condition by working out in addition to practicing routines.
Elements of Cheerleading Workouts
There are three key areas in which cheerleaders need to work: stamina, flexibility and strength. Like all athletes, cheerleaders need to focus on the activities they do regularly during cheerleading to help devise a work out plan.
Cheerleading routines are not long marathons. Rather, they are more like fast paced sprints. While many cheerleaders will simply jog a few miles in an effort to stay in shape, what will help even more is hard hitting aerobic activities that require a high amount of energy for a short period of time. Activities like jumping rope, sprinting or even doing a short duration, but high intensity aerobic workout will add variation to your cheerleading workouts. When you think about aerobic exercise to improve your cheerleading, think about shorter bursts of high intensity energy rather than longer periods of aerobic activity.
Flexibility is absolutely essential to be a cheerleader. Many of the poses such as a liberty or scorpion require flexibility. Jumps require substantial flexibility as well. Of course, most cheerleading try outs require that you be able to do at least the splits. Furthermore, making sure that you are flexible helps prevent injuries.
Any workout should begin with at least fifteen minutes of stretching. If you are not able to do the splits, work on that skill as well. Practice all of the positions such as a scorpion or liberty, that require super flexibility. Stretch into your jumping positions before you actually jump. Workouts should end with a short stretching sessions too.
The type of strength that a cheerleader needs to focus on is dependent on her position in the squad. It goes without saying that she needs to be able to have a good vertical jump, or have excellent upper body strength for motions and stunting. However, flyers in particular need to have a strong core for remaining stiff while flying and bases need to have strong back and shoulder muscles to help support the flyer during stunting.
Cheerleading Workout Tips
How do you make your workouts the most effective? There are a variety of ways to make sure that what you're doing really counts. Most teams have a physical trainer and if your squad doesn't, chances are good that your coach has some good insight on how to help you.
Vary Your Workouts with Your Practices
Practice in and of itself is a workout. Make sure that if your practice is all about stunting, you take some time to jump rope or go for a quick run. If you and your squad practiced a routine, do some Pilates, or work on your strength training. Vary what you're doing so that your practices and workouts compliment each other.
Don't Over Stretch
One common mistake cheerleaders make is to over stretch muscles in an attempt to gain flexibility. Always stretch just below the threshold of pain rather than stretching until you're in pain. Never bounce when you stretch but rather slowly lean into the stretch and hold. Make sure that you stretch before a workout to help prevent injury and after a workout to help muscles cool down and keep them from getting sore.
Cheerleading Is a Workout
If you are stuck for what to do, try doing one or more of your cheers with stiff arm motions for about five minutes non-stop. While you might think that sounds easy-it's anything but. It's great to offer variety in your workouts but cheerleading is a workout in and of itself and you can use it to help define muscles and build strength and stamina as well as using other workout routines.
Finding cheerleading workout tips for your squad or for yourself is often as easy as asking your coach. He or she will not only be a wealth of knowledge on how to work out appropriately but your coach will also have the benefit of knowing you and can give you individualized advice on how to be the best cheerleader you can be.