Strength is important for cheerleaders, particularly in regard to stunting, or performing stunts. Bases, who lift the flier, must develop strength to lift and hold a teammate at arm's length above their head. Fliers, who are lifted into the air, require strength to tighten their muscles while in the air and keep tight throughout a stunt. While both need overall fitness, bases especially benefit from developing upper body strength through weight training three times per week. At first, you can use lighter weights, adding weight as muscle tone increases. A strength training routine should include exercises to develop the muscles of the shoulders, arms, chest and upper back.
Sit on a bench or chair and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Raise the dumbbells together to shoulder level with palms rotated inward. Lift the dumbbells above your shoulder, turning palms forward as you lift. Extend arms completely, then return to the starting position. Beginners are advised to perform two sets of 15 repetitions. This exercise works the muscles of the shoulders and chest.
Keeping elbows tucked into your waist, hold dumbbells to the front of the body with palms facing up. Lift the dumbbells up toward the chest without moving elbows or upper arms. Return to the starting position and repeat for two sets of 15 repetitions. This exercise strengthens the biceps.
Stand on one foot and place the opposite knee on a bench. Bend at the waist to position your body horizontally to the bench, supporting it with the hand on the same side as the knee that is on the bench. Hold a weight in the free hand and lift your upper arm to the side of your body. Bend your elbow, creating a right angle, then straighten the arm to behind your body. Be careful to only move the lower arm. Return to starting positions and perform two sets of 15 repetitions. Reverse your position and perform kickbacks on the other arm. This exercise works the triceps.
In the same body position as the kickback, start by holding the weight down toward the floor. Lift the weight by pulling your elbow up and into your waist and contracting your shoulder blades. Return to starting position and repeat for two sets of 15 repetitions. Change positions to perform the exercise on the opposite arm. This exercise works the back.
Hold dumbbells to your sides at shoulder level with elbows pointing down and palms facing forward. Lift the weights by extending your arms upward. Return to starting position and complete two sets of 15 repetitions. This exercise works the anterior deltoids, triceps and trapezius muscles.
An American writer living in the United Kingdom, Christy Mitchinson began writing professionally in 2000, during her career in laboratory science, pathology and research. She has authored training materials, standard operating procedures and patient/clinician information leaflets. Mitchinson is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and creative writing with The Open University.