Prepare for Safe Landing: Cheer Equipment Review

by omni

Cheerleading requires a lot of training using a variety of equipment. Cheerleaders should learn and practice stunts safely using equipment, so it’s important for coaches to know which equipment is needed. From mats, to stands, to braces, you may not realize how much cheerleading equipment is out there. While there are hundreds of styles, brands, and types (just like cheerleading uniforms!) here’s the scoop on some of the most popular cheerleading equipment. Stunt Stand Ideal for: Flyers of all skill levels The Stunt Stand is perfect for flyers learning and practicing stunts. The stand can be adjusted to fit any foot size and acts like a base’s hand so it feels like the flyer is being held in the air, as opposed to a few inches off the ground. This is perfect for gym or at-home use, especially when bases are unavailable for practice. The stunt stand helps flyers levels 1 to 5 progress safely and nail down a stunt before being held high in the air! Landing Pad Ideal for: Throws and takedowns A landing pad provides the ultimate safety for learning and practicing throws and takedowns. Landing pads are generally between 6″ and 8″ thick and made of high-density poly foam, which cushions impact. However your cheerleader lands, this pad helps protect her from injury. Folding or Roll Mat Ideal for: Travel and portability A folding or rolling mat is a basic must for any squad. The mat is made with portability in mind; it’s simple to roll or fold, so you can easily travel with it – take it from the gym to the school and back to storage. These mats are generally an inch or two thick and firm enough for pivoting, but still soft for falls and stunts. Many of these pads are covered with vinyl for easy cleaning. Cheer Mat Ideal for: Competitions and indoor performances A basic cheer mat is a flexible, roll-up mat large enough for an entire squad to perform on during competitions or gym performances. With one to two inches of foam and a soft carpet top, cheerleaders are protected when performing stunts and tumbling. Back Handspring Spotter Ideal for: Learning back handsprings This mat is exactly what it sounds like: it helps cheerleaders prepare for back handsprings. Shaped like a pie with a slice missing, the cheerleader sits in the wedge, and pushes back, with the spotter rolling back with the cheerleader. Wedge Mat Ideal for: Beginning tumbling A wedge mat is very popular in cheerleading and gymnastics. The incline assists cheerleaders with the motion and strength to perform back walkovers, front walkovers, back handsprings, and more. The wedge is firm enough to support cheerleaders’ feet when landing, but soft to cushion falls or trips. Air Floor Ideal for: Bounce An air floor is a more portable version of a rod floor. The blow-up mat provides a lot more bounce than any other mat, which is great for tumbling. Many air floors have a strap for connecting several mats together. Along with a line down the center, air floors can be lined up for learning and practicing long tumbling combinations. Pit Ideal for: Learning advanced stunts Also known as marshmallow mats and resi pits, a pit is a mat that can be as tick as 32″. Pits are great for cheerleaders of any level. The thick pad gives cheerleaders the confidence they need when they hesitate to attempt a tuck or handspring. The top of the mat is soft to cushion landings. The bottom layers are firm, preventing cheerleaders from bottoming out. Stunt Strap Ideal for: Stretching and improving flexibility Stunt straps are great for all squads to have – they’re simple, inexpensive, versatile, and easy to store. Although ideal for improving scorpions, heel stretches, and similar stunts, the straps can also be used as a stretching and warm-up aid. Have your cheerleaders use a stunt strap during warm-up to increase flexibility and reduce injury risks. Back Brace Ideal for: Preventing back injuries Even if you don’t have an injured back, a back brace is great for wearing underneath your top. A brace will support your back and prevent injuries. Wearing a back brace is especially recommended during days of consistent tumbling practice. Wrist Brace Ideal for: Supporting wrist movement For both weak and injured wrists, a wrist brace offers support and protection. Many cheerleaders need a wrist brace after long periods of tumbling, especially front and back handsprings, walkovers, and round-offs. Ankle Brace Ideal for: Ankle instability If your cheerleader suffers from weak ankles or an injured ankle for a roll out or trip, an ankle brace should be worn. It provides enhanced protection, support, and comfort. What equipment do you use during training? Do you have a favorite style of mat or other equipment? Share with a comment!

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