Tumbling skills are an integral part of cheerleading, and no good squad should be without at least a few stellar tumblers. Tumbling has its roots in gymnastics, and adds an exciting element to both watching and executing cheerleading moves.
As with jumps and stunts, tumbling can be very dangerous if improperly executed, so always make sure there are coaches on hand during tumbling practices. When attempting cheerleading tumbling, always start off with a solid stretching routine that warms-up the necessary muscles in the arms, legs, neck and back.
The Importance of a Good Handstand
When starting off with cheerleading tumbling, don’t jump right into advanced moves such as handsprings. Without a core foundation in handstands, these more difficult jumps are impossible to perform correctly. The better your handstands are, the better your tumbling skills will be.
To practice handstands, start off by performing them up against a wall to get the feel for it. Once you’re comfortable against the wall, try executing a handstand. If you arms are not strong enough to hold you up, incorporate arm strengthening exercises into your daily exercises for a few weeks and you will start to notice a change in your execution. Always make sure to spend at least 5 minutes at every practice working on your handstands before beginning with other tumbling moves.
One of the best beginner cheerleading tumbling moves is the cartwheel. A cartwheel involves sideways motion on the hands where the body turns like a wheel. The back stays straight as the hands fall one at a time and the legs are propelled over the body, landing with the feet one at a time.
To execute a cartwheel, first you have to master the rhythm of the tumble, which is a 4-count hand-hand-foot-foot motion. To begin, reach forward and down with your more powerful arm, kicking your opposite leg up. The dominant hand touches the ground first, followed quickly by the other hand. As this happens, the dominant leg lifts from the ground as well. There is a brief moment in the middle of the cartwheel where it looks like the cheerleader is performing a handstand with the legs in a straddle position.
As the legs sail over the body, the leg that left the ground first should also touch down first, followed quickly by the second leg, with the arms raised high above the head, fingers pointed towards the sky.
Put Some Spring in your Hands
Handsprings are one of the most difficult cheerleading tumbling moves since they require a great deal of strength and coordination. To strengthen your arms, incorporate a number of push-ups and handstands into your daily exercise routine as well as weight lifting once or twice a week to build muscle memory. Handsprings also require leg strength for the push off the ground. To strengthen your legs, try squats and piles and round-offs as well as weight training for your thigh and calf muscles.
To execute a back handspring, start off standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your arms dangling lightly by your sides. The arms move behind the body as you jump backwards into an arched position, landing squarely with the weight distributed evenly between both arms. Keep your legs together as your body moves through the handstand.
The back handspring finishes with the snap down, where you contract your abdominal muscles and push off the ground using your arms. The tumbling jump finishes with both feet landing together on the ground shoulder width apart and the arms overhead.
Top 10 Cheerleading Tumbling Passes At 2006 Nationals
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