CHEER & TRAINING TIPS BY CheerConditioning.Academy
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TRAINING CHEER BASING SKILLS AT HOME: STRENGTH & LOADED MOVEMENT



Training for basing skills at home and in between practices will help to increase your strength and improve your skills for practice. LOADED MOVEMENT is a very effective way to train your basing skills, that is far more efficient than simple strength training.


WHAT IS LOADED MOVEMENT?


LOADED MOVEMENT describes any type of exercise (or any everyday movement) where we add more effort to manage an external force against our body. For example:


  • Picking up and moving a box (the load is a static object)

  • Performing a pushup (the load is our body weight)

  • Lifting a flyer (the load is another person/moving object)


Loaded movement training can be categorised by four general types:


  • Stabilising Strength Training (such as barre, pilates and Yoga, where the load focuses on improving our body and joint stability)

  • Generic Strength Training (such as bicep curls, loaded squats, weight-lifting exercises)

  • Functional Strength Training (such as cross-fit or functional pattern style training, which work on loading everyday human movement)

  • Skill-Specific Strength Training (specific to a sport or movement, such as a loaded drill, or using our INTENSITY cheer conditioning and BODY BEFORE SKILL workouts for cheerleading). 


Cheer Stunting: Basing Muscles


WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO YOUR BODY

When your body starts using additional resistance your body will adapt and become stronger (as long as your technique and posture is correct). Benefits of training with loaded movement include:


  • Muscles: become stronger and more efficient for basing.

  • Bones become stronger and resistant to impact.

  • Joints become more stable and adapted to added weight.

  • Movements: become smoother and more precise (as long as your technique is correct).

  • Metabolism: maximises fat burn.

  • Mentally: increased confidence and boosts your mood.

  • Body shape: Improved overall tone and shape.   

  • Skills:  Improved sport-specific movements. 

  • Effort: Your body adapts to be more efficient and needing less effort for skill repetitions and full-outs.


Strength Training Exercises for Cheerleading

WILL STRENGTH TRAINING MAKE ME BIGGER?


Some people get scared that strength training will make them look like a body builder. Ie their muscles will increase in size and you will end up with an excessively muscular look. HYPERTROPHY (the proper name for this phenomenon) is very difficult to achieve. That’s why bodybuilders spend an entire career doing it: it requires such a precise balance of diets, supplements, training regime that is almost a full-time job.


Loaded movement or even simple strength training for 1 or 2 hours a week will get you nowhere near the levels of hypertrophy to even see a big difference in muscle size. However, your body will shape, improve your strength and efficiency for strength skills.


Plus, you're lifting a much smaller weight than a flyer, so training with weights at home is no-where near as tough or leading towards hypertrophy as repeating stunts over and over again! If you do want to work on increasing muscle size, you can always progress to more advanced loaded movement training with a combined nutrition strategy.




SKILL-SPECIFIC TRAINING


In respect to cheerleading, SKILL-SPECIFICITY means choosing a particular exercise designed for a specific skill, making sure that the loaded movement is productive: 

Productive example: Using weights to build a basing skill, gradually increasing the weight and the load using correct technique. This is productive because you're training a loaded movement (basing) using the correct training method for this skill.

Counterproductive example:  Training cheer jumps with ankle weights. Even though it seems like common sense; it's counterproductive: using strength training to train a skill which is based on explosive power and active flexibility. Adding too much weight will compromise the quality of movement, joint stability and will not increase explosive power. 




HOW TO TRAIN BASING SKILLS AT HOME


Based on what you're after, there are two ways in which you can use loaded movement training:


  • Training strength: improve the maximum amount of force your muscles can lift in a single repetition (cheer example: how high can you throw a basket toss)

  • Training endurance: the ability of a muscle group to work continuously/for a long time without tiring (cheer example: how many basket tosses can you throw before needing a break).


You can also work on combinations of both, by varying repetition, movement, and resting phases. Our Youtube

Playlist features lots of ideas and exercises for cheer training at home. The CCA Members Area features many more videos with skill-specific drills and choreographed conditioning.




If you want to focus on load-based stunt training here are our recommendations:

  • PRACTICE YOUR STUNTS: Holding a dumbell (remember to start small!) and focusing on your posture. Practice the stunts and counts you usually practice with your team.

  • FIX YOUR CORE: Instead of doing crunches, spend time fixing your core. Lie on your back lifting your legs and focus on getting your back fully in contact with the floor.

  • TRAIN YOUR SHOULDER STABILITY: Using planks, headstands and walking around with weights overhead. Focus on keeping a good posture.

  • TRAIN YOUR SHOULDER MOBILITY: Practice bridges and chest opening exercises.

  • TRAIN YOUR GRIP: With dynamic mobility and increasing your strength with loaded movements. Focus on keeping your grip "fluid/active" rather than stiff and frozen.

  • LOADED SQUATS: Training a variety of squats, lunges and dynamic leg movements, loaded with small weights and added arm positions. See first video in this article.

  • TECHNIQUE & CO-ORDINATION: Practice the loaded movements we demonstrate in the first video of this article, starting with small weights and increasing your resistance.

  • IMPROVE STAMINA: It's one thing to have strength for one stunt, it's a whole different thing having enough endurance and strength over a 2-hour training session and an intense 2.5min routine. Training your endurance with a HIIT workout such as the INTENSITY series can really boost your performance.


Basing technique posters: available for downloading & printing in the CCA Coaches Area



SAFETY & TECHNIQUE


  • CORE & POSTURE: This should be your focus before trying any loaded movements.

  • PROGRESSIONS: Weight training should have progressions to be safe and be useful, just as you would expect from your tumbling.

  • TECHNIQUE: Weight training with lousy technique can also be dangerous and cause injuries. Make sure you fully understand the method and get guidance before you try anything new - whether it's conditioning, stunting or tumbling. 

  • SPOTTER / SUPERVISION: if you're training at home and trying something new, make sure your are being helped or supervised by another adult - if anything, to help each other keep your posture and technique in check.

  • TRUST & EXPERTISE: Trust yourself or your trainer before trying any loaded movement, and only take training advice from trusted resources. Always check the certifications, accreditations or affiliations of the information sources to trust. 

  • PAIN ALERT: "No pain - no gain" is a dangerous philosophy. Yes, a bit of muscle soreness proves you have been working hard but under no circumstance should there be pain. 

  • AGE & LIMITATIONS: Younger athletes should only work on light loaded movements and always be assisted.

Advanced Cheer Strength Training

PROGRESSING FURTHER


Loaded training can start with something as simple as using lightweights to practice your stunt moves. From there, you can always progress further into exercises and strength conditioning programs that really pushed your athletic ability.


For example, the CCA Members Area also features advanced progressions for loaded movement training. Some of these exercises were designed with male cheerleaders in mind, to offer a tailored workout for male athletes. However, they can be executed by all, as long as they are preceded by a quality progressive overload approach.



ACCESSING MORE EXERCISES & ONLINE LEARNING RESOURCES


As a coach or an athlete, if you're looking to progress your understanding and your training further, here is how CheerConditionig.Academy can help:


CHEERLEADERS: Just $59/year to access our library with hundreds of home training videos aimed at developing every aspect of your cheer skills, with rocking music by Power Music Cheer! You can train and have a blast, never get bored and access all of the educational resources aimed at cheerleaders. MORE INFO


TEAMS: Give your entire team access to CCA to train at home for just $45/month. Learn conditioning routines and exercises created by top industry experts, that you can just press play and pick up back in the gym - just by playing music or screening the videos directly at the gym. BONUS - 1 coach account free to access all of our online learning courses and resources. MORE INFO


COACHES: Access an entire library of educational videos, choreographed conditioning you can use with your teams and our entire library of Advanced Professional Development courses based on sports science for cheerleading. $34/month MORE INFO


ACCESS UNLIMITED WORKOUTS & LEARNING RESOURCES

 

Cheerleading is a sport. Cheerleaders are athletes. No, even better: they are SUPERHEROES. Cheerleaders fly, flip through the air, have superhuman strength, unbelievable endurance, they catch people when they fall, keep going when most people would give up.

 

We are an international community & platform dedicated to cheerleading as a sport: through conditioning, education, and fun fitness workouts.

 

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MISSION: CheerConditioning.Academy is committed to quality coaching education for the sport of cheerleading and beyond. Whether you are a recreational, sideline, school or all-star cheer team: our mission is to maximise your potential through quality education, cheer-specific sports performance, fitness and conditioning. #BodyBeforeSkill 

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