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5 Ways to Get Fit and Into Great Cheerleading Shape
Written by: Sofia Lockett
Testing everything from cardiovascular endurance to muscle strength and flexibility, cheerleading is a truly comprehensive workout. If your cheerleading season is coming up, think about how best to get into optimal shape for tackling those intricate routines.
Here are some easy, fun ways to prepare your body for what’s ahead, so you can turn up to your first training refreshed and ready to shake your pom-poms!
1. Take up dancing
If you’re interested in cheerleading, you probably already like to dance. If you don’t attend proper classes at a studio, now might be the time to enrol.
The dance sequences in most cheer routines tend to resemble the routines in hip-hop or aerobics classes, but even contemporary dance lessons or ballet will improve your choreography and body strength in a way directly applicable to cheerleading.
2. Increase your cardio and strength training
If you’re aiming to hit a particular weight target or gain muscle, cardio and strength training is the way to go. Both cardio and strength training help with calorie-burning.
Cardio doesn't have to be limited to weights and a yoga mat – go for a hike with your friends, take up cycling, attend dance classes. The style of cardio workout that suits you best will help create the calorific deficit that will facilitate weight loss for your unique body. Play around with it!
3. Review your diet
Always stay on the lookout for new ways to keep your lifestyle healthy so you won’t have to endure feeling “out of shape” for cheerleading in the future. Review your diet and make sustainable changes to benefit your health and wellbeing in the long-term.
Choose good fats from foods like olive oil, nuts, and fish, instead of saturated and processed products like butter and bacon. Reducing your alcohol or sugary-drink intake is another easy way to remove hundreds of calories per week from your consumption. Drink more water instead: it’ll be much more beneficial to your weight loss efforts.
Flexibility is the biggest challenge for many cheerleaders, which is why investing your downtime into building up your range of motion is integral.
Flexibility in the straddle position is particularly important in cheerleading, so start with a wall straddle exercise to improve your middle-split. Follow it with a butterfly stretch and some seated toe touches. Always warm up your muscles before stretching: you don’t want to be left on the bench due to a pulled hamstring!
5. Do some at-home gymnastics
The backyard is the perfect place to practice and maintain all of your essential gymnastics and tumbling skills for cheerleading. Dedicating just twenty minutes a day for honing your cartwheels, handstands, and split jumps will really impress your coaches and fellow cheerleaders when you return for the new season.
If you’re keen on becoming one of your cheer team’s tumblers, you can take advantage of your family’s trampoline to improve your balance and practice your jumps. If you’re practicing at home, always make sure you have a reliable person to spot for you.
In conclusion, a three-pronged training approach can help you improve your cheerleading skills: firstly, working on the stretches and skills required for your routines; secondly, enjoying other forms of exercise that will improve your form and endurance; and finally, caring for your body by choosing the best food to include in your diet. Using these tips, you can work hard, have fun, and become the best cheerleader you can be.
Sofia Lockett is a freelance writer from New Zealand. She is a fitness enthusiast and is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. You can read more of her articles on her Tumblr.