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Cheer Athletes Get Physical

Article by Maria Dinoia

Photography by Danielle Del Valle

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Cheerleaders are some of the strongest athletes there are. They require cardiovascular endurance to perform fast-paced routines and the strength and flexibility to execute difficult stunts. We asked Malik Briggs, former University of Louisville national champion and skills specialist at Cheerville Athletics to share his workout recommendations for student athletes. 

"These exercises can be done in an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) style. You can use a timer and do each of these exercises for 30 seconds each and see how many quality repetitions you can complete within the 30 seconds. This workout style will help improve both strength and cardio."

Pull quote: "Proper conditioning  is absolutely essential for safe, measurable advancement of cheerleading skills. Targeting core stability and major muscle groups with sports specific drills and exercises will allow a cheerleader to progress more quickly and with confidence." -- Lisa Wheeler, Middle School Sideline and Competition Cheer Coach

#1 Glute Bridge Lifts -  Start on your back with your legs bent and feet flat on the floor (feet and knees together). Then pull your toes up off the floor so that you are holding your body weight in your heels. From there, you will lift your hips to a full extension and hold your hips up for 2-3 seconds then return back your starting position. A more advanced version of this is doing it on one leg. Your other leg will extended out while keeping your knees together. 

#2 V-ups - You will need to start lying on your back with your legs straight, feet together, and toes pointed, with arms up straight by you ears. You will first need to engage your abdominal muscles before starting the movement. Lift your shoulders off the ground while reaching up with your hands and lift your toes to meet your hands at the top. Then return to your back slowly, with control.

#3 Mountain Climbers  - Mountain climbers are a great way to target more than one area of the body. This exercise not only helps with muscle strengthening, but also helps strengthen your cardiovascular system. The targeted areas for this exercise are arms, core, and legs. This exercise will start in a push up position, making sure your hands are below your shoulders. Then, you will drive one knee to your chest and alternate legs quickly. As you are moving through this exercise, be sure to keep your hips down and flat. 

#4 Lunge Jumps - This exercise also targets your cardiovascular system while strengthening your legs. Start with your feet together, and put hands on your hips. You will jump into a lunge position with both knees bent. Lower you back knee as low as possible without touching your knee to the floor. From there, you will jump into your lunge with your other leg forward, still lowering the back leg down close to the floor. 

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