What is fitness?
Nearly everyone, at some point, has heard “YOU NEED TO GET FITTER” shouted at them by their coach, but what does ‘getting fitter’ really mean? Being truly fit means being strong, having good cardiovascular and muscular fitness while also being flexible!
Not all sports require each fitness component, but in cheerleading we need all of them. We need to be strong enough to stunt and tumble, have the muscular and cardiovascular endurance to do it confidently for an entire routine, while having the flexibility to hit jumps and stretches while keeping our risk of injury down.
It’s impossible to know how much fitter you have got unless you test it! With cheerleading, it may be most beneficial to test at the very beginning of the season and then at the beginning of every month. This will give you a good idea of athletes progress and also who is doing their conditioning at home! Here’s some cheerleading specific fitness test examples that can be easily run, no matter what equipment or gym you have:
• Cardiovascular endurance: How many laps of the gym can you do in 2:30?
• Muscular endurance: How many squats can you do in 2:30?
• Strength: How long can you hold a dish/ hollow shape for?
• Flexibility: Take pictures of stretches and compare each month.
What’s most important as a cheerleader?
In being a well-rounded athlete it’s important to train each component of fitness and no matter if you’re a base, flyer or team reserve, you should train every component. However, some components may be more important for specific people when compared to others. For example, if we compare a flyer and her main base, it would be more important for the flyer to be more flexible than her base, and for the base to be stronger when compared to their flyer.
Unsure about how to train all of these components? You can always go back and read Novembers newsletter on conditioning or browse the internet. There’s so many different ways to improve an athletes fitness, so don’t be afraid to try new things, keep it varied and keep it tough.