To be the best athlete you can be, you need to be in tip-top shape. Whilst hiring a professional trainer will be the quickest and most effective way to get where you want to be fast… it’s not always in the budget. Here’s a step-by-step guide to helping you create your own super effective workout plan.
Step One You need to consider a bunch of variables to get the best possible workout plan. Firstly, what are you looking to improve? What are you looking to maintain? What stunting position are you? What tumbling skills are you working on? What part of the season are you in? Do you have a training program at the moment, what’s working/isn’t working and what do you and don’t you like. It’s a bit of an overload of information so I recommend writing out a mindmap and going from there.
Step Two From what you’ve written down, we’re going to go through how to improve some major parts of cheerleading. This requires quite a bit of research to really hit the nail on the head, so thankfully, I’ve done most of it for you as I enjoy sitting down and researching/learning as much as possible. From your mindmap, I recommend getting another colour pen and writing down what you need to do to improve it.
“I want to improve my jumps” – There’s a big misconception that you need to be Gabi Butler level flexible to have good jumps. Of course if you want wildly hyperextended jumps you will need to be flexible but most of the time, all you need is to have a high vertical jump and it’ll give you enough time to snap into a beautiful toe touch/hurdler/pike. To improve your jumps you’ll need to stretch and work on plyometrics.
“I want to improve my routine cardio” – Cheer is 73% anaerobic. So jumping on a treadmill for an hour could appear like a good idea, but you’d be training inefficiently. To improve this you should work on HIIT Sprints.
“I want to improve my stunting” (Flyer edition) – Flyers can do some amazing stuff, I flew for a little bit of my cheer career and I must say, I respect the fearlessness it requires. To improve and hit those higher level stunts you need to stretch and work on core strength.
“I want to improve my stunting” (Base/Back edition) – It’s no secret you need to be strong to be a great base. But, improving your hand eye coordination as well as weight training can be very beneficial.
“I want to improve my tumbling” – depending on what you’re working on will mean you want to train different things. For tumbling you could need to be working on anything from: bodyweight training, weight training, plyometrics, core strength.
Step 3 Now that you’ve got a basic idea of what kind of exercises you need to be doing. You have to ask yourself, are you going to be able to commit to going to the gym at least 3 days a week. Will that work around your training schedule/work/school? Are you leaving yourself enough time to recover. At the absolute minimum, you want to have one day when you’re not doing any exercise and your muscles can recover. I recommend leaving at least one day between working the same muscle group in the gym.
If you can’t commit to going to the gym 3-4 days a week, you’re going to have to focus on at home bodyweight workouts, which I won’t be going into much detail about. If you can go to the gym, you’ll have a lot more options on what you can work on and a plus side is it’s a place you can go and just get stuff done without worrying about anything else.
Step 4 Decide how you’re going to split your workouts up. You’ve got 7 days to work with. For example, I won’t do heavy lifting the day before practice but I would do plyometrics or cardio. How you split your time will depend on what you’re working on and how many days you’re going to the gym. For example, 3 days: Mon: Gym // Tues: Practice // Wed: Gym // Thurs: Rest // Fri: Practice // Sat: Gym // Sun: Rest. Once you’ve got a day written in, stick to it the same you would with going to school/work/practice. Being consistent is the only way to improve quickly and to a high level.
Step 5 What are you going to do on each day? You’ve already selected what kind of workouts you need to be doing but how often will you do them.
Plyometrics: once or twice a week, can be done in the same session as other workout types. You should be doing a small-moderate amount of good reps. Don’t push out 100 crap reps of squat jumps, focus on doing a smaller number of really explosive good squat jumps.
Stretching: doesn’t need to be done at the gym, should be done everyday – every other day
Weight Training: Depending on how many days you’re working in the gym, will depend on how you split this training. If you go 3 days a week doing upper body one day, lower body one day and full body another day is a good option. Or lower body one day and splitting upper body into one day of Chest + Back and one day of arms and shoulders. For 4 days a week (this is my current split) I do two days of lower body work (with slightly different exercises each day), a day of chest and back & a day of shoulders and arms.
Step 6 You should know have a full schedule ready for your workout. For example my schedule is: // Mon: Legs + Glutes // Tues: Chest + Back // Wed: Legs + Glutes // Thurs: Shoulders + Arms // Fri: Tumbling Class // Sat: Rest // Sun: Plyometrics (every 2 weeks) //
Now we need to know what each day will consist of. If you are working certain tumbling skills (i.e BHS, tuck, layouts), any conditioning you’ve been given you should be incorporating into your warm up before the gym. For example, when I warm up in the gym, I make sure to do 3 handstands, 3 handstand snapdowns and some bridges.
Step 7 What exercises are you going to do? There is such a massive magnitude of information and exercises that I couldn’t possibly begin to explain all of them. There are fantastic websites such as bodybuilding.com, workout videos on youtube, ExRs.net… and so many more. You need to have a very basic understanding of the main muscles in the body and how you use them in cheerleading. To this day I am still learning what muscle does what for me in cheerleading, especially in stunting, this knowledge will come in time. For now heres a small pool of exercises that are GREAT for cheer.
Legs + Glutes:
- Kneeling Squat Jumps
- Squat Jumps
- Single-Leg Leg Press
- Squats (Front Squat, Full/Back Squat, Overhead Squat, Thrusters etc)
- Leg Curl
- Dumbbell Calf Raises + Bodyweight Raises
- Skipping Rope On Toes
- Straddle Ups
- Reverse Crunches
- Hollow/Dish Hold
- Prone Hold on Med Ball
Upper Body Exercises
- Overhead Press
- Palms In Shoulder Press
- Front and Lateral Raises
- Inclined Hammer Grip Bench Press
- Bench Press (Decline, Incline + Flat)
- Close Grip Bench Press
- Weighted Back Extensions
- Chin Ups + Pull Ups
- Lat Pull Down
- Upright Rows
There’s so many more but this is just a small pool to work with! If in doubt, please don’t hesitate to message me, I’d love to help. The best way to contact me is via Instagram @adventuresinprep
I will be posting loads more about workout plans, but this is a good place to start! Stay tuned!! ❤
Lots of Love,