Cheerleading is a group activity performed during sports to cheer the players. It involves, jumping, performing stunts, dancing, tumbling, and many more gymnastic activities. To have a perfect performance, it is necessary that the cheerleaders are fit, and they perform the stunts efficiently. Cheerleading exercises play an important role in gaining body flexibility and strength, some of which are explained in the paragraphs below.
Crunches: A cheerleader must have a strong, tight, and flat stomach not just for good appearance, but also to improve the performance. To perform crunches, lie down on your back on the floor with your feet flat on the floor. Place your palms behind your head, and face towards the ceiling. Tighten your ab muscles, and raise your upper body through your shoulders. Hold the position for a second and get into the starting position. Perform 25 repetitions when you do this for first time. Then, increase the repetitions gradually. Side crunches, alternate toe touches, leg lifts, sit ups, etc., are also some good ones.
Lunges: Strong legs are a must for every cheerleader, since they help in easy formation of a pyramid and stunts. Other than lunges, calf raises, squats, push ups, and dips are some more useful workouts that help in strengthening leg muscles. To perform lunges, stand in an upright position with a hip-width apart distance between your feet. Now, place your left leg a step ahead, bend your left knee, and keep your back straight. Lower your body until your right knee touches the ground. Then, bring your legs together, and repeat this with the other leg.
Back Stretch: This aids body flexibility and strengthens the muscles of the lower back. To perform this stretch, lie down on your back on the floor. Keep your right leg straight, and bend your left leg. Stretch your arms towards your sides, and try to rest your left knee near your chest. Hold the position for 10 seconds. Now, cross your left leg over your right leg, and try to touch the left knee to the floor. Do not raise your body, and see that your shoulders are on the floor. Repeat it with the other leg.
Importance of Workout Routines
Body flexibility is one of the major elements of the cheerleading sport. A flexible body makes jumping, stunting, and stretching movements very easy. Exercises are necessary not just to attain this flexibility, but also to avoid injuries and to improve the coordination among the cheerleaders. They improve the overall fitness of the cheerleaders, and aid in improved muscle coordination and body balance. Some of the major muscle groups used while performing stunts, include upper legs, hips, abdominal muscles, shoulder muscles, chest, and back. A good fitness program that works on all these muscles can help to target strengthening, flexibility, and endurance.
Performing good stretches is necessary to avoid muscle cramps and body stiffness. Though this is a non-contact sport, it involves great risks of getting injured. Ankle fractures, knee sprains, muscle cramps, back injury, etc., are some of the injuries that can take place during this kind of performance. However, the workouts mentioned above can build strong body muscles and reduce the severity of these injuries. For flyers, these workouts usually consist of weight training exercises. They help the flyers keep their body stiff and maintain the balance when in air. Walking lunges, double leg bound, switch lunges, etc., are some of the jumps, that make the toe touch drill easy.
This was a summary on cheerleading exercises and their benefits. It is recommended that you should perform warm up exercises before performing these wrokouts. They not only help in achieving overall fitness of cheerleaders, but also help them to be in shape!
Disclaimer: This SportsAspire article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.