The herkie is a jump performed in cheerleading routines. Generally, when you're cheering a cheer at a game, cheerleaders end the cheer with screams, shouts of support and jumps. This is one of many jumps that you might see.
How to Do a Herkie Jump
This jump is similar to a hurdler except for the position of your arms. Generally, your weaker leg is bent behind you and your straight leg (the stronger leg) is straight to the side in a toe touch position. One arm touches the toe of your stretched leg while your other arm is bent at the elbow and to the side.
Before You Jump
Jumping requires a certain amount of athleticism. Before you attempt this particular jump, there are some things you should do first:
- Stretch: You should never do a herkie without stretching first. When you don't stretch, you increase your chance of injury.
- Calf Raises: You don't have to do these immediately before jumping, but before camp or before the season starts, work out your calf muscles every day by doing calf raises.
- Practice: The best way to perfect your herkie jump is to practice. It's better if you can practice in front of a mirror or in front of someone who can help you fix any mistakes or inconsistencies.
When to Perform This Jump
This jump seems relatively simple, but since the legs are split, it still requires a feat of athleticism. Herkies are generally performed at the end of cheers. In a routine, they would be done during the yelling portion. The jums are most often performed while other cheerleaders are also jumping, each according to their own style.
Herkies in Routines
Sometimes you might consider choreographing this jump into your routine. If you do that, you would choreograph it in four or eight counts, jump up on the second to last count and come down on the last count. For example:
Count 1: Clap
Count 2: Hands down in preparation for the jump
Count 3: Jump up
Count 4: Jump down
It seems that the basics of this jump are one leg in the toe touch position and one leg bent behind you. However, there are a variety of ways in which you can hold your hands, and there are also some variations on the jump.
A hurdler is similar to a herkie. The difference is that the straight leg goes out in front of you in a toe touch position. While you generally do herkies with your hips facing the audience, a hurdler is more impressive when done to the side. This way the audience can see the height of your jump and it looks better and more impressive.
The most common way to hold your hands during a herkie jump is with one arm touching the foot that's in the toe touch position and the other arm either on your hip or bent at the elbows. However, you can do a few other things as well:
- High V: Some cheerleaders prefer to put their hands in a high "V" position. You might want to do this if your jump is part of a competition. However, be forewarned that it will take a lot of strength to keep your arms in that position while jumping a herkie.
- Blades: You can put your hands in blades if you want. However, it's not that common, and some people may even consider it "wrong". You should not put your hands in blade position unless everyone else is doing it. This needs to be a squad decision and everyone should do the same thing.
- Hand on Hip: Another common variation is having your hand on your hip while your other hand is touching the leg that is straight. This is particularly a good way to hold your hands if you have pom pons.
The best way to see a good herkie jump is to watch someone else do it. Here are just a few links that demonstrate this jump being done properly:
- Toe Touch Combination: This cheerleader is apparently demonstrating proper technique by showing off her toe touch jump and her herkie jump. Notice that herkies are often paired with another jump like a toe touch.
- Herkie Demonstration: A professional demonstrates very clearly how to perform this jump. This is an excellent "how to" video.
- Backyard Practice: This video is one of the better demonstrations of this jump. While the jumper performs a few additional jumps, she gives a good demonstration of what this particular jump looks like from the side and front.