By: Amanda Tunison
Cheerleading is fun and exciting until most athletes get to their jump section, and then things slowly go down hill. As the years progress in competitive cheerleading, so do the leveling scores and judges’ comments at competitions. As we acknowledge this change, we have to evolve with the competitiveness of our sport. Elite level jumps are hard to come by; they take much effort and time to improve them and get the results you are looking for.
A toe-touch is a basic jump almost every single cheerleader has done for years; you would think it is a simple trick to do. But jumping a couple feet off the ground, whipping your legs up to your ears, and landing back on the ground quickly seems to not be very simple in my opinion. So how can you easily do the trick if you don’t train your body to do the trick correctly? It can’t happen! It is not so simple; getting an amazing toe-touch as well as other jumps takes time and endurance training.
The first and most important step to having the strength to jump, regardless of one’s flexibility, is that an elite level jump needs large amounts of leg strength to make it happen.
This strength comes from conditioning your body for these jumps; leg lifts are going to become your best friend for toe-touches!
There are many types of leg lifts you can do to condition and train your body, but these types of leg lifts are designed to improve your toe-touches and hurdler jumps. These leg lifts that you want to practice and improve on go like this:
Sit down on the floor in a big straddle position, while keeping your chest up and back straight.
Place one hand in front of you and one hand behind to keep your balance, keeping your chest up and back straight.
Start with your right leg, keeping your hands and chest in place, slowly lift your leg a few inches off the ground. Once you get the hang of it, lift your right leg 10 times in a row without touching the ground in between leg lifts.
Switch legs! Follow the same previous steps now with your left leg, lifting it 10 times in a row.
Now, place both arms in front of you with keeping your chest up and straddle position balanced. You will now begin to lift both legs off the ground, lifting them 5 times in a row. (Hint: Keeping balance for this one can be difficult. Keep your hands in front and your chest hovering over your hands to balance)
You have now done separate left, right, and toe-touch leg lifts. Continue this workout 3 times in a row, every day, and you will see your jumps begin to flourish and your routine become much easier than it was before!!
Good Luck and Happy Cheerleading! 🙂