Tumbling has become such a key skillset of cheerleading, it's almost a sport of its own! With hundreds of thousands of athletes attending tumbling classes and privates, and countless coaches looking to develop their understanding of tumbling within a team environment, we've put together the top tips we've collected from the tumbling experts at CheerConditioning.Academy:
Stop throwing ugly progressions that are unsafe. If you're finding it hard to progress to the next skill and are familiar with face-planting the first thing you need to work on is the strength and conditioning required to execute the skill. For example: to be able to back handspring - make sure you can hit a bridge/backbend, do a back walkover with straight legs and hold a strong, straight handstand by yourself before starting any back handspring drill.
To get the height, you need to master explosive power. Work on Plyometric strength by jumping on high boxes.
Develop core strength (not ABS, we're talking the inner core: psoas, TVA, hip flexors, etc...) - core strength is necessary to connect your upper and lower body, giving you shape and stability during the tumbling skill.
Know your SHAPES inside out, and then work on timing, pace and precision.
Develop great MOBILITY and STABILITY of your ankles and wrists, by working on specific training that develops strength and 3-dimensional movement in your joints. This will help give you more control, power, and resistance to injury
Go through drills, master micro-movements and functional exercises before trying them on full skills.
Develop strength and grit to push yourself. Getting upside down is no easy feat and it takes developing a lot of confidence in your physical abilities.
Work on shoulder mobility and chest stretching: this is the most underrated part of your body but without good shoulder mobility and stretching out your chest you are severely reducing your tumbling potential.
Develop spine mobility: learn to strengthen and move your spine with three-dimensional movement.
Handstands, Handstands, Handstands. Did we mention handstands? These are a KEY skill you need to master before building more solid skills.
Don't work on flexibility at the beginning of the session - work on this at the END of your practice. Read more about this on our flexibility articles.
Reach long: think long, strong and powerful. Don't scrunch and fold up like an old paper bag!
TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE, TECHNIQUE. Listen to your coaches when they're explaining correct technique. It's to help you improve - your coaches are there to help you achieve your goals, not hold you back! Trust them when they ask you to focus on drills and technique.
PATIENCE. Tumbling, to be mastered requires guts. It also required patience. Your body needs time to adapt and develop to be able to do the things you need from it. Be kind to your body, learn to listen to it and it will help you grow with skill and confidence.
Tumble. The #BodyBeforeSkill way!
If you're looking for workouts, drills and development for your tumbling: check out our #BodyBeforeSkill workouts and resources in the CheerConditioning.Academy members area for athletes, parents and coaches.