Cheerleading dance for fitness
Getting fit through cheerleading dance
Cheerleading may be forever associated with American college girls bouncing round in skimpy skirts, but it is an increasingly popular option for those looking to get fit through fun and flexible exercise. Cheerleading dance might not be for everyone but here’s our guide on how it could well be the dancing style to set you on the road towards fitness success.
An introduction to cheerleading dancing
Cheerleading sees participants follow tightly choreographed routines in groups. Traditionally it combines aspects of dancing, jumping and gymnastic stunts to rally spectators on to cheer a sports team.
With millions of dancers enjoying cheerleading practice in the USA, the activity has also caught on across Europe, with over 100,000 people now taking part in it outside of the United States. Requiring great flexibility in the legs, in addition to frenetic arm and hand movements, cheerleading offers a cheeky and cheerful way of boosting your body’s strength and mobility.
Key fitness benefits of cheerleading dancing
Cheerleading dancing has many key health and fitness benefits, in addition to those already associated with dance exercise. Benefits of cheerleading can include the following:
- Cheerleading improves lower back strength - Poor posture is rife in everyday living, with office workers slumping in front of computer screens for hours on end. Thankfully, help could be at hand in the form of cheerleading exercise. Cheerleading dance workouts require great flexibility and mobility, in turn exercising the lower back where spine-straightening muscles are found. So stand tall, stretch those muscles, and get cheerleading!
- Cheerleading works the core muscles - Demanding lots of upper body movement, cheerleading offers a great workout for the body’s core muscles, to encourage good posture and stabilize the body’s trunk.
- Fight fat through cheerleading - Cheerleading is a great way to burn off the calories and cut down on excess fat.
Key styles of cheerleading dancing
Cheerleading dance moves are made up from a number of key jumps, stunts and motions. Here are some of the more popular cheerleading routines:
- Pencil jump - This is one of the more simple cheerleading jumps to learn. Here, the dancer leaps straight up in the air with the arms in a T-position and the legs pushed together, pointing straight downwards. The pencil jump is generally one of the first learned by cheerleading beginners and sets up the body for more complex jumps.
- Pike jumps - In contrast to the pencil jump, the pike is one of the most difficult cheerleading jumps to carry out successfully. Here, the cheerleader jumps up and stretches their legs as far apart as possible. In this aerial version of the splits, the arms are pushed together and pointed downwards.
- High V and low V arm movements - These dance moves see the cheerleader alternate their arm movements by stretching them above the head in an upward ‘V’ position before lowering them below the waist in a downward ‘V’ motion.
- Left L and right L - These moves require the cheerleader to form an ‘L’ shape with their arms, either on the left or right hand side of their body. In these positions, the cheerleader’s arms are positioned at right-angles to one and other.
What to expect from your first cheerleading dancing class
Cheerleading lessons are likely to be fun and friendly affairs, allowing beginners to get involved from the off and really feel like they are contributing. Cheerleading lessons are generally very welcoming, with patient staff teaching basic routines before building dancers up to more ambitious jumps and maneuvers. A lot of the time you don’t even need to bring your own pom poms to classes; just turn up dressed for some frolics and prepare to laugh away a couple of hours whilst working out at the same time.
Key cheerleading dancing tips and more information
Unless you’re a hardened American cheerleader determined to win the national title, cheerleading dance exercise offers a hugely entertaining way of getting your body fit and healthy through happy and unashamedly cheesy jumps and moves. As a result, don’t worry about taking it all too seriously; just make sure you’re having a good time whilst enjoying some funky exercise.
Sources of further cheerleading dancing information include:
- Cheer Like a Pro! (DVD)
- Cheerdance workout video (DVD)
- Ultimate Cheerleading by Kieran Scott (book)