Simple Exercises to Dramatically Improve Your Cheerleading Jumps
Beautiful jumps don't require much time each day, only dedication.
I used to have disgusting jumps that looked more like a spread eagle than anything. I barely had the flexibility to lift my legs up a foot off of the ground, and I would bend over mid-air to reach my hands to my feet. I was very awkward. This all occurred to me during cheer camp before my freshman year, and as soon as camp was finished, I got home and devised a plan to improve my jumps.
Many people mistake toe-touches with an attempt to actually touch their toes in the execution of the jump. Your hands should stay in a perfect T motion the entire time you're in the air, and the effort should be put forth trying to get your legs up there. Regardless of how high your legs actually get, a jump with a perfect T and an upright back will always look cleaner than a jump with loose arms and a strained back. The approach should contain a quick and clean clasp that is positioned right below the chin, followed by a tight High-V. Never do a mini-jump in your approach, no matter how much air you think it's getting you. If you save that energy for the actual execution of the jump, it will be much higher. Your arms should cross right by your knees as you bend your legs, and then sharply thrown into a T as you bring your legs up. After the jump, take note to make sure your feet will land together, and your knees will only be slightly bent.
To improve the flexibility and height of your jumps, do these simple exercises every morning/afternoon and night for 3-4 weeks and you'll see much improvement.
1) Twenty push-ups. This may seem like a lot or like nothing, but keeping a steady work out involving push-ups will increase the overall strength of your body. It's a good warm-up, also.
2) Long periods of stretching. Go through stretching each part of your body for twenty seconds each. Stand up straight with your feet together and touch your toes; stand with your feet apart and stretch to one foot, then the other, and then the middle; bend your leg back and hold it tightly to the backside of your leg; stretch each arm across the side of your body and across your back. Sit down on the floor in a straddle, and reach to each leg and then the middle. Spend a lot of time forcing your body farther, but of course stop if it causes excessive amounts of pain. These are the basic stretches, but there are many more you should engage in to achieve ultimate flexibility.
3) Leg Lifts. Leg lifts are when you sit down in straddle and, while placing your hands in the air in front of you, you lift one leg up into the air repeatedly. The whole time your leg will not touch the ground. Afterward, repeat the exercise with both legs at the same time. You should do each leg about thirty times, and then when doing both legs at the same time, repeat about twenty times. This exercise will GREATLY increase the strength of your legs, allowing you to raise them higher while jumping.
4) Practice your jumps! This is easily the most important part of your workout. Above all, this will strengthen your legs and core to really make your jumps and and pretty. Your workout should be as follows:
1) Twenty toe-touches
2) Twenty left hurdlers
3) Twenty right hurdlers
4) Twenty pikes
5) Ten double toe-touches
This workout may seem way too simple to have any effect, but you'll be surprised how much stronger and more flexible you'll become. This should take about thirty minutes, and will leave you sweating, but it is well worth it.
If you have attempted and pulled through with this workout, feel free to leave comments and share your results!
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