How to Do a Cheerleading Herkie

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A classic cheerleading jump, the Herkie consists of kicking one leg out straight while bending the other, all while in midair. The Herkie was the signature jump of Lawrence Herkimer, known as the grandfather of cheerleading. Performing the Herkie with correct form can be challenging. Body awareness; flexibility in your hips, and your hamstrings; patience; and practice are required to master the jump with proficient technique.

  • Perform a prep, which provides momentum for the Herkie and all other cheerleading jumps. Stand tall with your abdominals engaged, chest slightly lifted and shoulder blades sliding down your back. Lift your arms over your head in a V position.

  • Swing the arms straight down in front of your torso and lift them out to the sides in a T position, at shoulder height. Simultaneously, bend your knees and extend your hips back to lower into a squat. Stop lowering when your thighs are parallel to the floor.

  • Roll through your feet and push off the ground with your toes. Push your hips forward and straighten your legs as you propel yourself into the air. Continue the momentum by moving continuously; avoid pausing at the bottom of the squat.

  • Kick both legs out to their respective sides and raise them to hip height. Extend one leg straight. Bend the other leg and point the knee toward the ground. Point the toes of both feet. Center your torso over your hips, straighten your back and keep your hips squared and facing forward throughout the jump.

  • Land on both feet evenly, with the legs together and the knees slightly bent. Simultaneously swing the arms down to rest by your sides.

Tips & Warnings

  • Switch sides with your legs to prevent an imbalance in strength and flexibility. After extending the right leg straight and the left leg bent, for example, practice for an equal amount of time with the left leg straight and the right knee bent.
  • Loosen your hips with the butterfly stretch. Sit tall on the floor with your legs in front of your body. Bring the soles of the feet together to form a diamond shape with your legs. Pull your abdominals in toward your lower back. Bend at the hips and lean your torso forward; avoid rounding the back. Simultaneously place your elbows on your inner thighs and push the upper legs toward the ground. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat for a total of five repetitions.
  • Stretch your hamstrings, located on the back of the upper thigh, with the seated forward bend. Sit tall on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of your body. Bring the inner thighs together to touch and flex the feet. Engage your abdominals and bend the hips to lean forward. Bring your chest as close as possible to your thighs. Take hold of your feet with your hands. Use the assistance of a towel or yoga strap, wrapped around the soles of your feet, if you are not able to reach your feet. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat two to three times.
  • Discontinue performing the Herkie if you feel pain in your hips or back. Consult with a physician regarding any pain or discomfort.

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  • Photo Credit Mike Watson Images/moodboard/Getty Images
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