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Cheerleading Article: Assign Resistance Training
As seen in Cheer Coach and Advisor Magazine January 2008.
By Karen Goeller, CSCS
Copyright 2008 Goeller
It is illegal to reproduce this article without written permission of the author.
Cheerleading has evolved into a sport that offers one challenge after another. Cheerleaders must have sport specific strength and strength in motion. Without the necessary strength, injuries and accidents occur. So, with an increase in strength typically comes a decrease of injuries during routines, games, and competitions.
Besides core strength, leg and shoulder strength are important, especially for those cheerleaders at the bottom of the pyramid. Cheer coaches must incorporate exercises that will help all of their cheerleaders increase general leg and shoulder strength for tumbling, jumps, and pyramid work.
Although the Wall Sit is a great exercise, cheerleading coaches must also assign exercises where the cheerleader is in motion. And, adding weight during exercises and movement will increase their general strength. Combination / compound exercises are very valuable because the athlete is training more than one muscle group at a time. Cheerleaders must often us more than one muscle group at a time for skills, combinations, and routines.
In the Wall Sit, the athlete's legs are becoming stronger in the sit (static) position because they are holding the sit for an extended period of time. Cheerleaders must also become stronger during movement. Strength in motion for the legs is as important as static strength. In the Wall Sit the athlete must move from the stand to the sit one time and then hold the low position. In the Squat Exercise the athlete must repeat the sit and stand motion several times. They will become stronger with the leg push motion rather than in the static position. It is a different strength and therefore a different training approach should be taken. For many sports the athlete must be strong in the leg push motion, rather than in the static position, but cheerleaders must be strong in motion and in the static position to safely perform pyramids, jumps, and tumbling. During pyramids the cheerleader at the bottom must support weight in addition to their own. It only makes sense to train with weights/resistance in order to more closely simulate the sport and increase strength. Since cheerleaders often use more than one muscle group at a time it may be most useful to include compound exercises. The following exercises will help the cheerleader gain strength in her upper and lower body simultaneously.
Cheer coaches must prepare their athletes with a great variety of conditioning exercises each week for success and safety. Always start with the lightest weight possible to ensure proper form during exercise. Please keep in mind that you are responsible for the safety of your athletes.
Lunge with Medicine Ball
Stand with feet hip width apart. Take leg and step back approximately 2 feet
standing on the ball of the foot. Place the front foot on a balance disc.
For more exercises like these visit www.LegsPlus.com.
Karen Goeller, CSCS
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