Cheerleading, Training and level of difficulty.
Cheerleading is a very physical sport and requires extreme amounts of commitment and training. One of our Barefooter’s Milly is a passionate cheerleader and answers our questions on training and the moves:
What do you see as the most difficult move?
That is a complicated question! Cheer is divided into 6 levels of difficulty, 6 being the highest. In level 6 you can basically do any combination of skills and tricks as long as someone doesn’t die!
To answer your question I have to narrow it down a bit. Firstly, the highest level I have competed in is level 4. Secondly, within Cheerleading there are different sections of the routine – the most challenging are stunting and tumbling. Then within the stunting section each person plays a different role – my role is Base (I throw people in the air). So I will answer from a level 4 Base position point of view.
Stunting: In level 4, the most difficult stunting skill for me was probably a 1.5 up to lib. Picture lifting someone who is standing on one leg, from hip height to full extension above your head, spinning that person around 1.5 times as you go, all whilst your eyes sticking together with eyelash glue, hair stuck to your lipstick, and someone else’s teased ponytail whipping your face as you turn!
Tumbling: By far the most challenging and difficult aspect of Cheerleading for me was tumbling, as proven by two knee injuries! In level four the most advanced tumbling you can do is a combination pass ending in a layout (a layout is where you backflip in the air, hands not touching the ground, and your body is supposed to stay straight the entire rotation). If you want to see some amazing tumbling YouTube Angel Rice – cheerleading and gymnastics legend!
What is your training regime?
- 4-5 sessions a week in the cheer gym
- 2 team trainings
- 2 tumble classes
- Maybe an open gym session to work on a particular skill or do an extra group training
- Cheer training days: cardio at the regular gym
- Weekend: Weights training
Cardio is often overlooked in Cheerleading as many think you need to work weights more to be strong enough to lift people. Yes, weights are important, but cheerleading requires intense cardio fitness to be able to breath enough during 2 and a half minutes of non-stop high intensity exertion with zero rest and still be able to throw yourself or someone else in the air safely!
What do you see as the most important thing for your body?
Eat right, keep your fluids up, and let your body rest! Fail in any of these and you won’t be capable of lifting someone above your head – which makes for a very dangerous time for all involved.