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Cheerleader Fitness Workouts

Oregon Duck cheerleadersCheerleaders have to be extremely fit to perform their dance routines. Routines are often very intensive with acrobatics throws and jumps to wow the audience at a match. Cheerleading is considered a sport by cheerleaders. During a match the two cheerleading teams constantly try to outperform each other by performing increasing adventurous and acrobatic displays.

Key Fitness for Cheerleaders

  • Flexibility Training
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Isometric Training
  • Agility and Acrobatics
  • Cardiovascular Fitness
  • Functional Strength
  • Cheers and Chants
  • Yoga and Dance Workouts

What makes Cheerleading different from any other aerobics or dance class is the cheers and chants. These are an integral part of the workout and routines. Cheerleaders work their cardiovascular systems harder than in aerobics workouts simply due to the additional energy required to do the cheers and chants during the routines.

Cheerleader Warm Ups and Routines

Cheerleaders perform workout routines that are very similar to the bodyweight circuits that dancers perform as a part of their fitness training. The focus is on building strength, stamina, flexibility and stability.

  • Warm ups usually involves squats, lunges, shoulder rolls, knee raises and a lot of stretching.
  • Routines are varied and include lots of dance combos that will be familiar to previous dancers and step aerobics students, such as left and right double-steps, skip steps, hip shaking. arm waves and jumping, kicks, squatting and forward bends
  • Simple Routine:
    • Leading with one leg: Forward Lunge, side lunge, rear lunge, squat. Repeat. Alternate legs.
    • Static Squats to create functional strength for lifts.


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In addition to these exercises cheerleaders will also perform upper body exercises such as push-ups, dips, overhead presses, bicep curls and rows. The lifts and throws require a lot of strength, in gymnastics it is the men that do the lifts but cheerleaders do not have that advantage, so the strongest women need to work on their upper body strength and the smaller women work on the agility and acrobatic skills.

Cheerleading is a great way to get fit and lose weight while having a lot of fun. Forget Salsa, Zumba and Belly Dancing, Cheerleading is the new in thing!

Some Facts About Cheerleaders

  • Cheerleading was developed in Minnesota by the local university football team.
  • The first cheerleaders were men! It was only from the 1950’s that women started to take over.
  • Now that women have taken over cheerleading, routines are geared to flaunting the female figure so unsuitable for men to do.

Watch the Denver Broncos Cheerleaders Workout

This workout is core to the cheerleaders fitness. Here the Candice Jones says that it comes before the endurance or power workouts. However, it is still in addition to the endurance and power drills, as these are vital too. It is a great core workout with solid held squats, dynamic stretches and long lunges. Several of the postures are taken from yoga, such as the warrior pose and the Side Angle Yoga Pose (Parivrtta Parsvakonasana in yoga).

This is really a low impact and quite a commercial routine. It is actually from a DVD workout series called Cardio Cheer, which was developed by Paula Abdul and cheerleaders Candice Jones, Renee Herlocker, Traci Swain and Lindsay Rosenberg give fitness classes.

Photo of cheerleaders by Avinashkunnath

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