How to Train for Cheerleading

So you want to be a cheerleader? Cheerleading can be an extremely rewarding sport where you can make close friends. Whether you are trying out for the first time or looking for new moves to spice up your workout, these are steps that have been tested through many squads.


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    If you are trying out, start by speaking to someone already on the squad. They can tell you specifics about the try outs, as well as what the coaches will be looking for. This will show where you should train hardest. The basics you have to know without a doubt are toe touches, herkies, kicks, motions, splits, cartwheels, round offs,front/back handsprings,and handstands.
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    Get your endurance up. Cheerleaders are required to cheer in front of crowds for an entire game - sometimes up to two hours. Start by running every day, even if you can't run the whole time. By being active you increase strength. Elliptical training and stairs are also helpful in training the leg muscles you will need as a successful cheerleader. Do one of these in 10 minute intervals several times a day. Every week increase the incline or speed by 1 point.
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    Start core exercises. A popular training circuit counts down from thirty by tens. 30 jumping jacks, 30 crunches, 30 push ups, and 30 seconds of a plank. Do not stop between rounds. Take a ten second break at the end of each circuit and start again with twenty, then ten. Do this circuit once a day everyday.
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    Learn the basics of cheerleading jumps. The most common is a toe touch, but squads usually require four or five. To increase your height in jumps, place a piece of tape 12" above your extended hand. Start in a crouched position and jump up to touch the tape. Only count the reps where you reach full height, and try to do 10-15 a day to start. Also do the jumps you must know repeatedly, about 5-10 each.
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    Increase your flexibility. Stretch twice a day, when you get up in the morning and before you go to bed. Particularly stretch your thighs and legs with straddle stretches. Do the lunge, kneeling lunge, kneeling reverse lunge, straddle, pike, splits, quad stretch, shoulder stretch, tricep stretch, bridge, etc. Hold each stretch for 10 seconds and repeat the stretches 3 times a stretching session.
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    To increase the flexibility in your hips and strengthen leg muscles needed for toe touches, sit on the floor in a front straddle. Depending on previous flexibility, lean forward on your hands or forearms. Slowly, lift a leg one at a time a few inches above the ground, lower, and repeat. Try for 10 a day on each leg. If your hips lock up, do a pike stretch and try again. When you have mastered lifting, try circling your feet in the air before lowing for a more advanced movement.
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    If you have the time and resources, seek out a local gymnastics facility to help you. Private or group lessons can give you personalized training on jumps and tumbling. Do not be afraid to ask for help! Tumbling is very important in advanced cheerleading but can be difficult to learn, give it time. In the mean time, teach yourself cartwheels, round offs, handstands, bridges, and back bends. You may be able to teach yourself a back and front walkover, but only if you master the other skills.
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    Take a dance class, or use dance instructional videos to sharpen up your ability to retain choreography. YouTube is a great source for easy amateur routines. So is Activity TV. Cheerleading is heavily dance oriented and having a background in dance can help you.
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    Finally, try to cross train your body to prevent plateaus with flexibility, weight, and strength. Pilates, weightlifting, and swimming are great exercises to increase endurance and muscle.


  • Watch multiple cheer videos or have someone train you who has experience in cheerleading.
  • Be loud and project your voice. If you are not loud enough then you may not make the squad.
  • Most high schools squads do not allow cheerleaders to have hair in their faces during performances. Remember this during auditions. The same goes for long nails.
  • Remember, athletes lift weights, but cheerleaders lift athletes! You have to be strong. Do not shy away from strength building.
  • Exercise to attain flexibility for stunts.
  • For a try out, take time to look the part of a cheerleader. Tryouts can be very difficult, but by having a bright colored lip gloss on and a shimmery eye shadow, fatigue is less noticeable.
  • Try to train at least 2-3 times a day.


  • Do NOT try to learn to tumble on your own. You can seriously hurt yourself!
  • Try to avoid high sugar, caffeine, and carbs at least 24 hours before a practice, game, or performance. Try instead for natural sugars in fruits.
  • Do not stereotype cheerleaders based on media. Cheerleaders are just like everyone else. By coming into training with a negative mind about the girls (and guys) you are going to make enemies.
  • Never use extreme measures to control your weight. You cannot be a good cheerleader without being properly nourished. You will have no energy and it is a serious health risk.

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Categories: Cheerleading