Conditioning Fit For a Cheerleader

by Jenn McD. | July 13th, 2010 | Exercises

Cheerleading is a sport that I have been absolutely in love with since I was in first or second grade. I like to tell people that I was “bred” to play volleyball since I grew up in the Midwest where volleyball is the equivalent of lacrosse in the west coast. Due to my sports upbringing, I wasn’t able to fulfill my dream of becoming a cheerleader until I got to college. Cheerleading isn’t taken very seriously at my school, but the way that we’re worked in conditioning practices, people should. We get up at the crack of dawn and work out for 2 hours to make sure we stay and look fit throughout the season. I decided to re-live (I mean, RECAP!) our conditioning practices for the cheerleaders out there looking to stay in shape over the summer.

First we always did some form of cardio to get the blood pumping. Usually we would just run for about 15-20 minutes. Nothing too strenuous, but a good jog will help get the muscles relaxed and ready for the rest of the workout to come.

After our cardio, we usually would work on our legs since they are key in the sport of cheerleading. Whether its dance, tumbling, or stunts, legs are a VERY important to keep built up and toned. Lunges were one of the many exercises we used when we focused on our legs. Lunges tone the thighs and glutes when performed correctly. In addition, we also did squat hops. These helped tone the thighs and glutes as well as worked the calf muscles in the lower part of the legs.

On days where we focused on the abdomen, there were a significant amount of exercises we used to work the stomach muscles, the most obvious being crunches and sit-ups. We also did scissor kicks and leg lifts. Crunches and sit-ups helped tone the upper ab muscles while the scissor kicks and leg lifts helped with the middle and lower ab muscles.

During the season our coach pretty much demanded perfection when it came to all our performances during games. If a stunt was dropped, if someone was caught chewing gum in their uniform, if the entire team wasn’t on the sidelines before our designated time right before a game was supposed to start, or if we were late to conditioning, we were punished during our conditioning practices. These punishments usually consisted of running the 3,000 seat bleachers in the gym, suicides, countless push-ups and sit-ups, wall sits, and even having to jog around the 3 court gymnasium carrying a gymnastics mat on your back.

Whether it was punishment or our standard workouts, conditioning practices helped me tremendously in creating my own workout habits for myself.

For those who are cheerleaders, share your own conditioning stories in the comments below!

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