Cheerleaders should be lifting weights for safety matters

%22We+are+constantly+lifting+girls+in+stunts+and+some+get+frustrated+when+it+does+not+hit%2C%22+senior+Emma+Vogel+said.+

Brooke Reese

"We are constantly lifting girls in stunts and some get frustrated when it does not hit," senior Emma Vogel said.

Morgan Haworth, Print Editor

Cheerleaders put a lot of strain on their bodies. Between lifting people into the air, tumbling and being sharp with every movement, they are strong. There are always dangers when cheerleading, but lifting weights could potentially help with injuries and make a team stronger.

Powerlifting coach, Kevin Coker believes cheerleaders should be lifting weights.

“According to a study released in October of 2019, cheerleading has the second-highest concussion rate amongst all sports during practices. It is absolutely incredible what cheerleaders do, the amount of pure strength, core stability, and athleticism that it takes to complete their stunts is really awe-inspiring, especially at the level of competition that Piper High School partakes in. With that being said, athletes, in all sports, should train with the safety of themselves and their teammates in mind,” Coker said.

The main concern for Coker is the safety behind cheer stunts. It takes a lot of strength and ability to be able to do stunts correctly.

“The ability to throw another athlete above your head, maintain healthy posture for the base, and then catch that person from the height that they do is a very dangerous thing if not done so properly. Developing the proper strength to safely do that for all of the athletes involved is something that should be trained on a consistent basis. I compare it to this; would you want a nurse who did not do well in their math and science courses? Would you want someone attempting to hold you above their heads, or catching you from a fall, not focused on their strength?” Coker said.

Senior on the cheer team, Sydney Rhodes, takes matters into her own hands and works out weekly to strengthen herself.

“I do think cheerleaders should be lifting weights because it makes them stronger and it makes it easier for them to put flyers into the air. I personally go to the gym around four to five times a week. I do some cardio and lift weights, as well as doing different exercises to work different muscles,” Rhodes said. “It is so important because it helps build their strength and their ability to jump, stunt and tumble. The stronger the cheerleader the better.”

Coach, Morgan Conrad, agrees lifting is a valuable part of a cheerleader’s training.

“I can’t stress that enough. Cheer is a physically exhausting sport, ask any of my girls. If you aren’t lifting weights, your body definitely isn’t going to allow you to lift a person above your head. A weight class will teach the girls proper technique and we’re all about technique in cheer. With that being said, each position in cheer is different, but having a class to show what weight exercises they can do will help. The girls will notice a difference in their technique when stunting, and it will decrease the risk of injury,” Conrad said.

Lifting weights and working out will lead to stronger and healthier individuals as well as teams.

“Being strong is a positive thing. We train athletes, not bodybuilders. Consistent strength training will result in an increase in muscle mass and decrease in body fat, however, that will not result in someone looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The kind of training that we coach simply will not result in that sort of outcome, but we can help you jump higher, be more explosive, have a stronger foundation, stronger core, decrease injury risk, and hopefully positive self-image,” Coker said.