The core is the foundation for your entire body. Your core is much more than just abdominal muscles; the core includes the whole trunk, including the front, back, sides, and pelvic floor, and it spans from your shoulder blades to your hips. Every movement for a cheerleader starts at the core. If cheerleaders are not activating the core, then all movements, including running, squatting, basket tosses, and stunting, could be weaker, slower, or lead to injury.
Core strength is essential for all cheerleaders in a stunting group. Both the bases and the flyers need a strong core for the safety of the stunt and proper execution.
Bases in cheerleading lift or throw a flyer into the air during a stunt. Depending on the cheer team, bases can be either male or female. Bases need strength to lift and hold a person above their head and the power to toss a person into the air. Bases need to be strong throughout their bodies to achieve these skills. Since a base helps lift another person, they need to ensure they are lifting correctly, using core activation and leg strength to protect their back from injury.
A flyer in cheerleading is the athlete on top of a stunt or being lifted into the air by the bases. The flyer is most often a female athlete, who is generally short and lightweight. Flyers need to be very flexible to perform intricate stunts while being held above the bases. Flyers also need to be strong. A strong core is key for flyers to help them maintain their balance when performing libs, scorpions, basket tosses, and other skills. A strong core for a flyer can help prevent injury by improving their balance and helping them have clean stunts and catches.
Here are some core exercises to help improve cheerleaders’ core strength.
You can modify for difficulty level by placing your knees on the ground until you are ready to progress to on the toes.
Planks can also be performed on each side.
Squats are generally thought to be a lower-body exercise, but we can increase the challenge to the core by adding a medicine ball or weight. For cheer bases, having proper squat form is vitally important.
A good squat includes weight thru the heels.
Quality repetitions are more important rather than the total number. Make sure you are using your core muscles. Avoid straining your neck muscles or compensating with other areas of the body when doing these exercises. A good core exercise is performed slowly and with control. If you cannot perform the exercise correctly with proper form, you should stop and modify the exercise to ensure proper core activation. For help with proper form, reach out to a Physical Therapist at an Athletico near you today. Free Assessments are available in-clinic or virtually through our Telehealth platform.
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