Whether part of an overall routine or done after your team scores the win, cheerleading jumps add a lot of excitement. Jumps start with the most basic moves such as a spread eagle, and move into complicated maneuvers such as the double hook or double nine. The following slides will show you some well-known jumps and explain the positions you'll need to achieve to perfect those jumps.
Young cheerleaders usually learn this jump first as it is one of the most basic. It is performed with the hands in a high "V" motion and the legs go out to the sides at the height of the jump. The jump therefore looks like an "X" and is also called the "X Jump". New cheerleaders may not be able to get their legs as high as those who have been cheerleading for a while. To improve the height of your jumps and your flexibility, have your coach teach you some simple stretching exercises and practice jumping over and over.
The toe touch is one of the most common jumps. It is performed by beginning cheerleaders and advanced cheerleaders alike. In this jump the legs are out to the side in a straddle split and the arms form a "T." The legs should be parallel to the ground and toes are pointed to the side. The back should be straight. This is a basic cheerleading jump, but it takes time and work to get the form just right and gain the height needed to perform it as well as the girl pictured here.
Toe Touch Toss
Once a flyer perfects her toe touch, she can perform it during cheerleading stunts with the rest of the squad. In the Toe Touch Toss, the base throws the flyer into the air and when the flyer reaches the height of the throw, her legs hit a toe touch. She then snaps her legs together and straight. To finish, she keeps her legs and chest up as she descends and the base catches her in a cradle.
Although this is a cheer move that even beginner cheerleaders learn, it is a more advanced move when performed correctly. The legs are straight out and knees are locked. Arms are straight out in front and pointed toward the toes. While in mid-air, the body is almost folded in half. The pike is also known as a candlestick.
This photo shows a pike in progress. The cheerleaders are almost in position, and a second later will be touching their toes with straight arms and legs.
Lawrence Herkimer founded the National Cheerleader's Association (NCA) and was known for creating interesting jumps and stunts. This jump is one he came up with and it is named for him. The herkie can be performed to the left, right, or front. One leg is out straight and the other hooked to the side. The arm on the side with the straight leg has a fist on the waist and elbow out and the arm with the bent leg side punches straight up. The photo pictured here has excellent leg position, but to be a true herkie, the cheerleader would need to place her right hand on her hip.
The hurdler is a more advanced cheer jump because it requires the cheerleader to hit an unusual position she may not be used to.To perform the hurdler, one leg is straight forward and the arms are in a touchdown position. The other leg is either bent completely behind or slightly behind with the knee pointing toward the ground.
The side hurdler is similar to the front hurdler, but one leg is out to the side and the arms are in a "T" position. The other leg is bent out to the side with the knee facing the crowd instead of the ground. Although the two jumps are named similarly, they look quite different when performed.
When first learning to do a tuck, it can be frightening for cheerleaders to pull their knees all the way up to the chest and snap back down to land on the ground. Beginning cheerleaders will do better with a beginner's tuck like the one pictured here. The cheerleader lifts her arms over her head in a touchdown and bends her knees with the kneecaps pointing toward the ground.
In a tuck, the cheerleader pulls her knees up to her chest. The picture here isn't quite a true tuck, but the cheerleader is getting closer. In a tuck, the arms are out to the sides in a "T." The thighs align with the ground and the knees are at chest level.
A double hook is a jump where the arms are in a high "V" and the legs are hooked to one side. Some refer to the leg position as the "cheer sit." This is the position cheerleaders are taught to use when sitting on the floor during a basketball game or other event. One leg is in front and hooked to the side and the other leg is in back and hooked toward the same side.
Think Outside the Box
Learning the basic cheerleading jumps is a definite asset to anyone on a squad or trying to make the squad. However, it is okay to think outside the box when coming up with performances. You never know, you might follow in Herkie's footsteps and one day invent a new jump that is named after you.