Skip to main content

Elite Cheerleading Body Positions

Liberty 

The Liberty (Lib) is the first body position that flyers should learn. Learning how to properly execute a liberty will allow a flyer/top-girl to gain the confidence for one-legged stunts. Of course, balance, properly engaging muscles, and flexibility allow for ease of skills, though, the most important aspect of body positions is consistency of technique. Consistency allows bases in a stunt group to learn their flyer’s style in the air. This is the reason that switching stunt groups can be difficult for some flyers. By properly learning body positions and the technique needed for those positions, flyers will be comfortable in any situation. For this reason, the liberty is the most important body position to learn.

In cheerleading, body positions are performed on a “base” leg while executing the position with the “pulled” leg. The base leg is always locked out. Locking the base leg means that the flyer has engaged the muscles in a way to stabilize their balance and weight distribution. Any movement underneath the flyer should not affect the locking out of the base leg. Conditioning these muscles will allow the flyer more control. The “pulled” leg will lift to a 90-degree angle, while keeping the toe pointed and placed beside the “base” knee. Many flyers will try to tuck their “pulled” foot behind the “base” knee. The “pulled” foot should not be touching the “base” knee. While pulling body positions, another important thing to remember is the angle of the hips. When lifting the “pulled” leg, a flyer will naturally begin to move hips. It is important to always keep hips parallel to the ground below the stunt group. By keeping hips parallel to the ground, body positions can be executed without having to adjust for balance below.

Heel-Stretch

The heel-stretch is the first body position that flyers “pull”. Most of the time, a flyer will hear a coach say, “pull a stretch” or “pull a heel-stretch.” This body position is typically performed by lifting, kicking, or pulling the “pulled” leg into position. The leg must stay completely straight and the toes should remain pointed at all times. Only one hand (typically the same side as the “pulled” leg) will grab the “pulled” foot on the outside of the shoe. Four fingers will be on the bottom of the flyer’s shoe, while the thumb is on the side/top of the foot pointing towards the ceiling. A common mistake would be grabbing the ankle or toes for the grip. While lifting the “pulled” leg into position, the bottom of the shoe and back of the knee should be facing the direction of the stunt. Another common mistake with heel-stretches is opening the hip too much. Remember to watch the angle of the hips in relation to the ground under the stunt. The only way to ensure that the hips stay aligned with the stunt is too increase the flyer’s flexibility. The hamstrings, calves and hip flexors of the “pulled” leg must be conditioned/stretched, along with the quadriceps of the “base” leg.

 

Front-Stretch

Much like the heel-stretch, the front-stretch will use the same method to pull the body position. The only difference between these body positions is the use of both hands for grabbing the “pulled” foot. Both hands should be placed on the foot, while making sure not to obstruct the view of the flyer’s face. If the “pulled” leg isn’t high enough, the extra hand may cross directly in front of the flyer’s face. With body positions, it is also extremely important for the flyer to keep their chest up and pronounced. By using both arms, the body naturally will close the chest of the flyer, so it’s important to practice getting this body position placed correctly. A perfect front-stretch is performed with both arms as close to the side of the flyer’s head as possible.

Free-Stretch

The next progression of stretch body positions is the free-stretch. This body position requires extreme amounts of muscle control for the flyer. Not only does the flyer need to maintain the position of the “pulled” leg near the head, but the flyer also must release any grip on their  foot. Typically this body position is performed by pulling a bow-and-arrow, then releasing the grip and placing the arms in a Low-V position. The “pulled” leg will rest on the upper arm/shoulder of the flyer, but will remain locked out with toes pointed. Releasing the grip on the flyer’s “pulled” foot will cause the chest to drop, so engaging the core muscles to combat that from happening is crucial. Keeping the chest up, shoulders relaxed and neck elongated will create the perfect visual for this cheerleading body position.

Bow-and-Arrow (Overstretch)

After perfecting the front and heel-stretches, the next progression of body positions in cheerleading is the Bow-and-Arrow. Also known as the Overstretch, this body position is performed by gripping the “pulled” leg with the opposite hand directly by the head of the flyer. With the leg straight and toes pointed, the flyer will open their chest and reach their “pulled” arm through the “pulled” leg. The body position should look much like an archery bow and arrow. The only way to truly execute this body position is to have amazing flexibility in the “pulled” leg. Many times, if a flyer is not flexible enough for this skill, the leg will begin to pull their chest to the side. It’s extremely important to keep the chest open and in a straight line. Any variation of the chest off of the center line of balance will cause the stunt group to re-correct. As a flyer, it’s paramount to maintain that center of balance for the bases.

Paper Clip

The Paper-Clip is a variation of the Bow-and-Arrow in the way that it is pulled. Once a flyer has mastered the Bow-and-Arrow and Free-Stretch, they are then ready to work on a paper-clip or pretzel. Again, each variation of body positions will require more muscle control and flexibility. The paper-clip is executed by the flyer entering a free-stretch and instead of the arms being in a low-V position, the arms are wrapped around the back of the flyer. Performing this skill requires the chest to maintain an open position and the “pulled” leg to be straight.

Arabesque

The arabesque is a body position that every flyer must master. The arabesque is performed typically at a quarter-turned stunt position. The leg that is towards the front of the stunt is the leg that will be “pulled”. The position is executed by lifting the “pulled” leg directly behind the flyer. Lifting the “pulled” leg directly up behind the flyer will cause the hips to open to the front. This must be corrected immediately. The hips opening up in this position means the lower back muscles are not strong enough to lift the leg. The leg should be at a 90-degree angle or higher, while maintaining the chest in an upright position. Many times, when lifting the “pulled” leg backwards, the flyer will drop their chest in order to get the leg higher. Learning to lift the leg while maintaining an upright chest position will allow the flyer to maintain balance and create a visually stunning body position. Arms are typically in a T-position with the flyer’s face looking directly down the “pulled” side arm.

Scale

A scale is typically performed at a quarter-turned stunt position. The “pulled” leg is usually facing the front of the stunt. To pull a scale, the flyer must enter the skill by grabbing the inside shin of the “pulled” leg, while keeping the knees glued together. After grabbing, the flyer will then straighten the “pulled” leg, arching the lower back, and opening the chest to the audience. The other arm will typically be in a High-V position or on the flyer’s hip. The shoulders should be squared to the front of the stunt along with the open chest. Toes on the “pulled” leg must remain pointed at all times. A “broken” scale is the same skill, but with the “pulled” leg bent at the knee.

Chin-Chin

The chin-chin is an elite body position that takes precise control of the flyer’s core muscles and leg flexibility. Once a scale and “broken” scale have been mastered, a flyer is then ready to move onto learning the chin-chin. This body position is executed by entering into a “broken” scale and placing the “pulled” foot under the flyer’s chin. At that point, the “pulled” foot will remain under the flyer’s chin, and the arms will open to a high-v position. This skill will use lower back and hamstring muscles the most. It’s important to consistently stretch to keep skills like the chin-chin.

Scorpion

The scorpion is an elite body position that requires back and leg flexibility for the flyer. This body position is executed by “pulling” or “kicking” to the body position. It is important to learn the grip for “pulling” a scorpion the correct way. Lifting the “pulled” leg to grip the foot is done the same way as a scale, but the flyer must grip the foot differently. Once this grip is mastered, the flyer will pull the leg into position and gripping the toes with the other hand. Opening the chest, gripping the toes with straight arms, and arching the back to create a beautiful circular body position. The difference between a scorpion and a needle is the position of the chest and grip of the “pulled” leg. The shoulders of the flyer should be fully opened along with the chest to give a rounded image between the “pulled” leg and arched back. Many times, flyers will be asked to hold this body position with one hand, while dropping the front arm to choreographed motions. Holding this body position with one arm can be very difficult without proper conditioning and muscle control. It’s extremely important to keep the chest up during any back flexibility skill. This will maintain the balance for the stunt group and prevent any movement of the stunt.

Needle

The needle is the next progression of body positions from a scorpion. Possibly the hardest of all body positions, due to the amount of flexibility and muscle control this skill requires. The difference in these two body positions is the position of the chest, closing of the shoulders, and grip on the “pulled” leg. Entering a needle is exactly the same as a scorpion, but the finished body position will be different. The position of the chest and shoulders while performing a needle are closed. This is different than the scorpion because shoulders should be fully opened. A needle should create a straight line from “base” leg to “pulled” leg. Most flyers will grip the “pulled” ankle with both hands, while some place their front hand on the shin of the “pulled” leg in order to straighten the leg and keep the back hand on the “pulled” foot lifting upwards. Needles can also be performed with only one arm gripping the “pulled” leg. A “broken” needle is executed by entering into a “needle” position then bending the “pulled” leg to a 90 degree angle over the flyers front shoulder. Over-splits and conditioning for flexibility is the only way to achieve this body position.

Broken Needle

A broken needle is an elite cheerleading body position that many flyers work on for years before perfecting. This position requires the flyer to have extreme back flexibility and muscle control. The only difference between a broken needle and a needle is a bend in the “pulled” leg. This skill is executed by entering into a needle, then “breaking” the needle by bending the knee to a 90 degree angle over the flyer’s front shoulder. The flyer should look up while performing this skill.

Tilt

A tilt is executed by entering into a body position and adjusting the position of the upper body of the flyer. The tilt is nothing more than leaning the upper body of the flyer, while maintaining the body position. Typically, a Stretch Tilt is a Heel or Front-Stretch where the flyer will lean the upper body towards the base leg. Tilts can be done in a Heel-Stretch, Front-Stretch, Bow-and-Arrow, and even some very talented flyers can tilt a Scorpion or Needle. When executing a tilt, the most important muscles to focus on are the core and base leg muscles. By engaging the core muscles, the flyer is able to maintain the center of balance for the stunt group.

Spike

The spike is different than most body positions because many people don’t consider it a body position at all. Though, it is important to mention because there are techniques that can make this skill easier for the flyer. A spike is performed when a flyer reaches forward and grabs the ankle of the “base” leg. At this point, the flyers chest should be inverted touching the “base” leg. The “pulled” leg will straighten out directly to the air and create a line from “base” leg to “pulled” leg. Not only does this skill take flexibility in the quadriceps of the “pulled” leg, but the body position takes so much control through the “base” leg to maintain balance for the stunt group. Practicing the motion of getting into the inversion quickly while squeezing is extremely important to mastering this body position/skill.

Crossbow

A body position that requires the flyer to shift the center of balance, also requires a strong stunt group to balance out any movement. The crossbow is performed by entering into a heel-stretch and with the opposite hand grip the “base” ankle. The flyer should then be holding the “pulled” foot and “base” leg, while the flyer’s torso is parallel to the ground/stunt group. This is considered an elite body position and requires the flyer to maintain complete control of their body. A perfect center/middle split is imperative to make sure this skill looks effortless. A crossbow is the equivalent of doing a pancake stretch in the air.

Cupie

A body position that requires the flyer to shift the center of balance, also requires a strong stunt group to balance out any movement. The crossbow is performed by entering into a heel-stretch and with the opposite hand grip the “base” ankle. The flyer should then be holding the “pulled” foot and “base” leg, while the flyer’s torso is parallel to the ground/stunt group. This is considered an elite body position and requires the flyer to maintain complete control of their body. A perfect center/middle split is imperative to make sure this skill looks effortless. A crossbow is the equivalent of doing a pancake stretch in the air.

Hang

A body position that requires the flyer to shift the center of balance, also requires a strong stunt group to balance out any movement. The crossbow is performed by entering into a heel-stretch and with the opposite hand grip the “base” ankle. The flyer should then be holding the “pulled” foot and “base” leg, while the flyer’s torso is parallel to the ground/stunt group. This is considered an elite body position and requires the flyer to maintain complete control of their body. A perfect center/middle split is imperative to make sure this skill looks effortless. A crossbow is the equivalent of doing a pancake stretch in the air.

Platform

This body position requires the flyer to keep their legs together tight enough for the bases to move the flyer as a single “unit.” Many times when moving into an extended platform, bases will begin to move the flyer’s feet apart. It’s extremely important for the flyer to keep this from happening. By learning to lift through the toes, keeping the legs locked out, and squeezing the ankles together, a flyer will never have any issue executing this skill. Typically, the flyer’s arms will be in a High-V motion, or will have a choreographed motion.

 

 

Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.
Thanks for contacting us! We'll get back to you shortly. Thanks for subscribing Thanks! We will notify you when it becomes available! The max number of items have already been added There is only one item left to add to the cart There are only [num_items] items left to add to the cart