No matter what your official "position" is on the cheerleading squad, having a good deal of upper-body strength is going to help you do your job better. If you're a base who lifts other cheerleaders into stunts such as pyramids or basket tosses, you need strength to lift and hold your teammates safely. If you're a flyer who does gymnastics-style tumbling or gets tossed in the air, having that upper-body strength will make your jumps and tricks easier to do. Among the methods of strengthening the upper body are the "oldies but goodies" that include pullups and pushups -- something you should be doing on a regular basis.
Warm up your body by jogging, walking or doing some other type of light cardio for five to 10 minutes. No matter what type of exercises you're doing, this simple warm-up is always important.
Place your hands on the pullup bar, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart in an overhand fashion. Take a few deep breaths in and out.
Inhale and then brace your abdominals and exhale as you raise your body upward with the strength of your arms, abs, chest and back. When you raise yourself up so your chin is near the bar, lower yourself back down in a controlled motion, inhaling again on your way down.
Repeat that motion as many times as you can, continuing to inhale on the down portion and exhale during the up portion of the pullup. Count the number of pullups you can do. If you didn't manage to do a single one, change the position of your hands to an underhand position and see if that makes it easier. Chinups, which include that underhand motion, are typically easier to do.
Perform the same number of pullups two more times the same week, giving your muscles at least 24 hours' rest in between sessions. After one week, aim to do one additional pullup. For example, if you were able to do two pullups, try doing a third pullup during the second week. When you can successfully do three pullups, do that number three times in a week and then try to do a fourth pullup the following week, continuing to add one pullup to your routine every week to two weeks to continue gaining strength.
Tips & Warnings
- If you're not able to do a single pullup or chinup, you're still not off the hook -- and in fact, it's even more important for you to continue this routine. Have a friend help you up onto the pullup bar -- or use a chair to get up into the "up" position of the pullup -- and then lower yourself down slowly. When you're back down, repeat the whole motion again a total of 10 to 15 times. This "negative" pullup can help you gain the strength you need to progress to a full pullup. Another way to strengthen your muscles for the real thing -- find a low pullup bar and then do the pullup motion with your feet resting on the ground. When you can do 10 pullups in this way, start using the real pullup bar and progress to more and more pullups in the fashion mentioned in the above steps.
- If you experience any pain or discomfort while you're doing pullups, stop immediately.
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