Jump Around, Jump Around
The best way to end an energetic cheer is by inserting a well-timed leap into the air. By peppering your cheerleading routine with jumps, you’ll demonstrate your squad’s commitment to the athletics and gymnastics that make the sport exciting to watch.
Before executing or practicing any cheerleading jumps, always ensure that your squad stretches and is fully warmed up in order to prevent jump related injuries. There’s nothing worse than losing a solid cheerleader for an entire season due to a pulled groin muscle caused by inadequate stretching.
The Basics of Jumping
Here are some basic guidelines for executing cheerleading jumps. Remember that these are the basics only and that each jump has its own special set-up. Never attempt a jump that you are not 100 percent comfortable with.
To begin, start with your feet together and your arms by your sides. Count off 5,6,7,8, and on the 8 count, clasp your hands together at chest height. Count 1,2 and on the 1 raise your arms above your head in a V shape, and hold for 2. On 3, swing your arms across your body so your right hand is in front of your left knee and your left hand is in front of your right. Bend your knees to prepare for the jump.
On 4, jump up and perform your chosen jump. Make sure to land with your knees bent. On 5, bring your legs back together with your arms by your side, holding this position for 6. On 7, stand up straight, and on 8 clasp your hands in front of your chest as with count 8 in preparation for the jump.
Toe Touches and Hurdlers
One of the first cheerleading jumps that any cheerleader learns is the toe touch. The most common misconception about the toe touch jump is that the fingers never actually touch the toes. For the toe touch jump, the cheerleader jumps up and brings their legs out straight to the side, parallel to the ground.
When executing the toe touch, keep your toes pointed, your knees up facing the ceiling or sky, and the arms straight out in a T-shape. Also, make sure to bring your legs to your arms, not your arms to your legs. Always keep your back straight and your head up, facing the crowd.
After perfecting the toe touch jump, many cheerleaders move on to the hurdler. There are two types of hurdler jumps: the front hurdler and the side hurdler. For a front hurdler, the cheerleader jumps with one leg straight out in front of them and the other bent behind them. The arms are parallel, raised above their head with the tips of the fingers pointing towards the sky. For a good visual, imagine you are leaping over a hurdler like the ones in track-and-field races.
For a side hurdler, the straight leg is out to one side with the bent leg facing the crowd. For this jump, the arms are outstretched to the sides in a T-shape, similar to the toe touch jump.
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