How YOU Can be a Fantastic & Fit Cheerleader While Still Being Safe!
As the sport of cheerleading has evolved, the physical demands it puts on cheerleaders has grown in great proportions. No longer are cheerleaders standing on the sidelines clapping their hands and stomping their feet – they are literally throwing their bodies into the air, doing crazy amounts of flips and twists and tumbling around like its nobody’s business – oh, and all while keeping a bright smile on their faces. In order to be successful and injury-free as a cheerleader, It is vitally important that you have a strong level of physical fitness supported by a healthy diet. Let’s explore a few ways to make that happen.
It’s All About the Core
It is very important that cheerleaders have strong abdominal muscles. These muscles are frequently used for better jumping, stunting, and pyramids. Having strong abdominals will also decrease your risk of injury.
Here are a few good exercises to strengthen your abdominal muscles:
A crunch is one form of sit-ups. Keep your legs bent with your chin pointed at the ceiling. Sit with your shoulders a bit off the ground. Keep your stomach tight. How many you can do depends on your current fitness level. You could start with 20 and gradually build up to 100 reps.
Side crunches are similar to regular crunches except your legs are bent and you lean to one side. Perform normal crunches with your shoulders a bit off the floor. You can start with about 25 reps and gradually build up to more.
Partner Leg Lifts
One of you will lie flat on the floor with their legs in front of your body. The partner stands right above the head of the one on the floor. The one on the floor grabs their partner’s ankles, lifting their legs at an angle of 90 degrees. The standing partner pushes the other’s legs down firmly all the way to the floor. The one on the floor tries to resist having their legs pushed to the floor by catching them before they hit the floor, and raises them back up again (sounds fun, huh?!).
Yoga has been growing in popularity as a way of improving flexibility, balance and strength. Yoga is also great for maintaining and improving joint health as it calls for movements that don’t put heavy, repeated pressure on your knees and hips. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Glenn Axelrod explains the benefits of yoga are so great that many professional sports teams are now using yoga as a regular part of training!
Be sure that you are supporting your exercise with good nutrition. Your body will need plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats to recover from your workouts.
Many cheerleaders choose to eat several smaller, more frequent meals during the day rather than three large ones. Eating smaller meals, but more often throughout the day will help to raise your metabolism. As a result, you will find it easier to lose or maintain weight, while still consuming the same amount of calories each day!
Before you perform any routines or exercises, make sure you first do a good bit of stretching and warm-ups, which will help prevent any possible injuries from tight muscles. Injuries are always a risk in a demanding activity like cheerleading, but that is no reason to not take any and all precautions available.
With some recent cases of cheerleader injuries in the news, there has been a growing focus on the need for new regulations for cheerleading. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently recommended that cheerleading be treated as a sport to help prevent serious injuries.They recommended that cheerleading should be considered a sport at the high school and collegiate levels so that the same rules that apply to governing bodies like the NCAA will also apply to cheerleading. Finally, people are starting to wake up!
Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com/!
The amazing thing about blogs is that you can reach out to a wide range of people around the world. Carolyn is one such person we’ve had the pleasure of meeting through our blog and she was kind enough to highlight to us that she was writing an article that would be very relevant to us as Cheerleaders and after reading her work, I couldn’t agree more. Do check out her blog, it makes for an interesting read, all about keeping fit, as you would have figured from the blog url. I probably need to look at it regularly if i’m ever going to complete my Chunk-to-Hunk/Flabs-to-Abs programme at any stage in life. Haha.
She would love to hear from all of you so please feel free to comment on the article, or you can reach her via her blog. The best part of any work is the audience reaction so we’re waiting for yours 🙂
Thanks again Carolyn, it was a pleasure working with you and I wish you all the best going forward with life. Haha and of course, since its on your blog, I don’t think you’ll mind me sharing; congratulations again on your engagement, we’ll be looking out for that wedding picture shot in the near future 😉