Footwork | Cheerleading Hurdler
The first step of completing a cheerleading hurdler is understanding footwork. To begin a hurdler the cheerleader should be facing forward. Next, the cheerleader will take a small dip in her knees and on the way up she will move 45° to the right or left depending on which side kick leg she wants to use. As soon as the cheerleader's legs are locked at the 45° angle she will then dip again into her knees readying her body for jump height. Notice in the video above, the small dip in her knees is not down to the parallel position. If the cheerleader dips too low, she will actually limit her jump height. The dip should give the cheerleader the same sensation as the position someone feels when they're about to sit in a chair. The slight dip in the knees will enhance the cheerleaders ability to maximize her jump right.
Upper Body Position | Cheerleading Hurdler
The arm positioning towards the beginning of the hurdler stunt is very basic, but important in order to generate power for jump height. To begin, slightly bend the knees with the hands placed together at chest level before turning to a 45° angle. As the cheerleader turns to the 45° angle her arms will then stay together and go up above the head. The arm position should be in line with the cheerleaders ears, which is slightly forward from the vertical position. As the cheerleader readies herself for the jump with the second small dip in her knees, her arms will swing down to help gather momentum for maximal jump height. On the down swing the arms will come apart, swing by her hips, and back up above her head. This position will be the same arm position as when the cheerleader reaches max jump height of her hurdler. In this final position the arms should be in a position slightly in front of the vertical position in line with the cheerleaders ears, with closed fists. The arm swing down and then up is not just for show. Cheerleaders must swing their arms with power to build jump momentum. By preloading the body's muscles, the cheerleader will enable a larger muscle twitch. What this means, is a higher jump. Make sure to watch the video above and listen as this advanced level cheerleader walks you through each step of the hurdler.
Lower Body Position | Cheerleading Hurdler
We have discussed the cheerleader's footwork, but now it is time to work through the jump and leg placement. When the cheerleader reaches the 2nd dip in her knees she will then move into the jump. When the cheerleader jumps the kick leg will move in front of the body. The best looking hurdlers are the ones that can maintain a straight leg with toes pointed. Each cheerleader should work to get maximal kick height on each and every hurdler. The best way to increase kick height is by increasing quad and hip flexor strength. Another way, and the quickest, to improve your kick height is to become very flexible in your hips, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. Refer to our Stunt Strap Stretch Video for a walk-through of a great stretch routine. Without flexibility and strength cheerleader's kicks will never reach maximum height. As for the rear leg, when completing a hurdler, it must come up behind the body in line with the front leg. The hurdler is supposed to look like the cheerleaders are jumping over a hurdle. The back leg must be behind the body while working for a bent knee at a 90° angle. The toes on the rear leg should also be pointed for the best looking hurdler.
How to Get a Higher Jump | Hurdler
Cheerleaders looking for higher kicks and jumps must train smart. Footwork and arm position all goes hand-in-hand with jump height. For a quick addition in jump height, a cheerleader must work to swing her arms down hard to preload the muscles. A lazy arm swing will not load the muscles and lead to a lower jump. An aggressive arm swing will add tension throughout the body enabling the cheerleader to explode up. The next fix for jump height is improving strength and explosiveness. Using Kbands during stunt training can improve strength and power in the hip flexors and quads. Kbands allow cheerleaders to train their muscles in exactly the same fashion they wish to compete. There is no other training tool like Kbands. Cheerleaders should look to our hurdler training page and learn how to utilize Kbands to enhance their hurdler.
Hurdler Chest Position
One of the most important parts of the hurdler stunt is chest position. A cheerleader should work to build all of her momentum upwards. The arm swing down only enhances the body's ability to generate power upwards. So when the cheerleader reaches max jump height, her leg kick should be placed between her arms which are slightly in front of the vertical position. The cheerleader must not drop her chest to her leg. She must allow her leg to come to her chest. Many cheerleaders that are not flexible enough to kick high during the hurdler will cheat and drop their chest to the leg. A proper hurdler is completed by keeping the chest position vertical with a high leg kick. If cheerleaders cannot maintain a high chest during the kick phase, they should begin stretching heavily to improve flexibility. Again refer to our Stunt Strap Stretch Routine FREE Cheer Video for step-by-step instructions on how to improve flexibility. Cheerleading is all about range of motion, kick height, and jump height. Cheerleaders should work to improve their flexibility and overall body strength. Also make sure not to forget about core strength. A strong core will help cheerleaders prevent lower back injuries and maintain perfect stunting. Work on an array of abdominal exercises that include: side bridges, crunches, leg raise, oblique raises, lemon squeezer's, ect...
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