Many cheerleaders struggle with getting higher, more explosive jumps. Chances are, you’ve looked through all the hashtags looking for tips and tricks to gain some height. But despite the thousands of search results for #cheerjumps or #jumpdrills, there isn’t enough good advice on how to pull off a fabulous, crowd-pleasing stunt. That’s because, more than technique or skill, repetition is the key to success. The more you practice, the better you’ll get! Let’s take a look at five drills your team can do daily to execute higher jumps before the big competition!
One of the basic ways to execute a high jump is by improving your flexibility. Stretching will loosen your muscles, allowing you to perform with a greater range of motion. Flexibility also improves your form, so you’re less likely to injure yourself when executing an explosive jump.
For this drill, straighten your legs out, wide-apart, with pointed toes. Bend down and reach forward with your arms, keeping your back as straight as possible. Hold for 20-30 seconds. Do this for 4 sets. Then, repeat by reaching over your right leg, then your left, completing 4 sets each. Lastly, bring your feet into a pike position and stretch forward with your arms again, holding for 20-30 seconds for 4 sets.
Straddle lifts strengthen your hip flexors which are important for stronger stunts and higher jumps. You want strong hip flexors for a full hip extension.
Like the straddle stretch, sit with your legs wide apart, with pointed toes. Lean back slightly, and place your hands on the floor, in front of you, for balance. Lift your right leg two to three inches off of the floor for a count of two seconds, then set it back down. Remember to keep your leg straight and your toes pointed! Repeat five times. You should aim for 4 sets of 5 for each leg.
As you get better, challenge yourself by working up to 10 counts per leg. Or raise your leg an inch higher for every set. Then, try lifting both legs at once.
Seated Toe Touches
For this drill, start on the floor in a tuck position. Feet should be slightly off the floor and your arms should be in a dagger position. Quickly extend your legs and arms into the toe touch position, then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat 10 times. Concentrate on keeping your back upright, your legs straight, and your toes pointed. Do this for 4 sets.
Start in a squatting position, with feet shoulder-width apart.Spring up as quickly as you can and land with slightly-bent knees. When you jump, swing your arms up to get a higher vertical. Do 4 sets of 10. For an added challenge, hold onto a 10 lb. medicine ball.
Jump Conditioning Drills
Complete this sequence 3 times for a total of 19 minutes. Rest for 2 minutes between each sequence.
- High Knee – 30 seconds – Jog in place and lift your knees up to your chest
- Box Hops – 30 seconds – Use tape to create a cross to make four 1-foot square boxes. Hop from box to box (with feet together), clockwise
- Butt Kick – 30 seconds – Jog in place and kick your heels up to your glutes
- Box Jump – 30 seconds – Explode up off the ground, landing as softly as possible
- Burpee – 1 minute – Squat position (hands on ground) to plank position (arms extended) to squat position (hands on ground) then leap up (arms raised)
- Jump Tap – 1 minute – Stand near a wall, jump up, and tap hands on a spot 1 foot above your reach
- Mountain Climber – 1 minute – Plank position with arms extended, bring each knee forward
Remind your athletes to listen to their bodies while practicing these jump drills, as results can take time. Once your team has what it takes to win the next WSA cheerleading nationals, register here for a competition near you!