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Cheerleading is one of the most demanding activities for teenagers. Because it involves total fitness -- both cardio and strength -- and a constant high level of energy, it is important to be in great physical condition to keep up with the demands of the sport. And it starts with the arms. When combined with a total cardio and strength program and a healthy diet, arm exercises can help cheerleaders perform at their best from the start of the game to the end.
According to the National Cheerleaders Association, pushups are a valuable part of the recommended conditioning program for cheerleaders. Pushups develop muscles in the arms, chest and back and also engage the muscles of the core, which are all necessary in powerful and strong cheer movements. The NCA recommends both traditional pushups and variations including pike pushups, traveling pushups and those with varying hand distances.
Inchworms work the entire upper body and a host of other muscles. They are used by the Minnesota Vikings cheerleaders at the beginning of their workouts. According to вЂњShape Magazine,вЂќ inchworms start from a standing position. Bending at the waist and placing your hands on the ground in front of you, walk your hands out until you are in a full plank position and then do a pushup. Walk your feet in as close to your hands as possible and repeat the motion 10 times.
Falling and Plyo Pushups
In two twists on pushups that focus on shoulder and back development, falling and plyometric pushups are effective moves for building both arm and core strength. For falling pushups, start at a kneeling position and fall forward onto your hands and lower into a pushup. Return to your knees and repeat 10 times. Next, reverse the motion for the plyo pushup. Start by lowering into a kneeling pushup and explosively push off with your arms to return to kneeling.
Dumbbell Arnold Press
When it comes to stunting and tumbling, the shoulders are one of the main arm muscle groups that cheerleaders must develop. In a move that mimics many cheer lifts and stunts, the dumbbell Arnold press is an effective way to increase strength in this important area. Sitting on a weight bench with your feet on the floor, take a pair of dumbbells and hold them at your chest with your palms facing inward. Raise the dumbbells while you rotate the palms of your hands to face forward and press the weights over your head. Lower to the original position and repeat for three sets of 10 to 12 reps.