Tumbling For Cheerleaders Week 4‚ The Pro’s Moves Get tips for more tumbling moves in the free Tumbling for Cheerleading Guide, available now! Tumbling is a form of gymnastics that requires athletes to use their bodies to flip, twist, roll and jump. Tumbling is most often used at cheerleading competitions and during gymnastics routines at the Olympics, but dancers and other stage performers also tap tumbling to give their show a “wow!” factor. To excel in tumbling, you must be disciplined, skilled, fast and strong with maximum flexibility and stamina. This week I’ll cover two pro tumbling moves: the front and back tuck. These moves are extensions of the beginner, rookie and expert tumbling moves covered earlier this month. You need to have those moves mastered before attempting to learn these advanced moves. Don’t expect a “shortcut” or “quick way” to learn any tumbling moves‚ they don’t exist. Attempting any tumbling move without the proper training and supervision can result in serious injury. Use mats, training equipment and spotters until you have mastered tumbling moves. Don’t forget to properly stretch and warm up! How To Do A Back Tuck The back tuck, like the back handspring and roundoff, is a staple move for tumbling passes in cheerleading. The back tuck can be done as a single move from a standing position, but is often done as part of a longer tumbling pass in cheerleading. As a beginner, and while learning this move, you should practice the move on its own. Once you can do the move alone, you can add it to a tumbling pass, such as off the rebound of a roundoff or back handspring. Click above to view large image The back tuck starts with a powerful set. The first step of your set is your squat. Start by standing with your feet together and legs straight, arms raised. Go into a controlled squat while at the same time swinging your arms down and behind you. Don’t hold back with your arm swing. You want it to be powerful so you can build enough momentum for your backward motion. During your set, keep you chest up and your back straight. Your eyes should stay off the ground. Keep them focused forward. The second step in your set is the lift off. As you rise out of your squat, swing your arms up with all your power and extend your reach upward. You should also begin pushing off the ground by lifting your heels and coming up on your toes. Stay in control of your body by keeping your core tight and tensed. As you reach the peak of your set (the swing of your arms straight up and your heels off the ground), use its momentum to jump up. Unlike the back handspring, do not jump backward. Focus on getting your jump as high as you can and let your arms pull you upwards while launching off the ground with your legs. Resist the urge to drop your arms and tuck your knees right away. You need to wait until your jump as reached its peak. Once you are in the air as high as you can go, tuck your knees into your chest. It is important to bring your knees into your chest, instead of pulling your chest forward to meet your knees. Your shoulders should be slightly curved forward, and your head is still straight (though now you are looking up instead of in front of you). Do not throw your head backward. When you tuck your knees, it should be a snap motion. Pulling them in quickly will help propel your rotation. After you tuck your knees and begin rotating, your arms can either pull in under your knees or wrap around your legs. Your momentum will rotate you through the move. As your rotation is ending, you want to release your legs, and begin to straighten them while extending your lower back. Land with your whole foot (not the heel or the toes), and bend your knees to absorb the impact of the landing. As you are landing, you should begin to swing your arms upward. This will help you balance, and will shift your momentum from forward to upward. Use that momentum to bring your body straight and up, and continue raising your arms to end the move in the same position you started. NEXT: Pro’s Guide To Tumbling For Cheerleading: Front Tuck Once you have mastered all of the tumbling moves covered in this series (and not a moment before!), you can start combining them with other moves to create tumbling passes and help you craft your technique into controlled skill. Start slow, and work on getting faster after you are comfortable with the changes and shifts in movement. Make sure you wear the correct cheerleading shoes and practice wear when you are learning how to tumble. Your shoes should be flexible and supportive, and your practice wear should be tight-fitting so your body won’t get tangled in extra material.