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Cheerleaders must be flexible, strong and able to jump and perform tumbling moves. A trampoline can help cheerleaders condition their bodies, practice their jumps and learn new tumbling moves with a low risk of injury. Simply jumping straight up on a trampoline helps build leg muscle, improves balance and teaches you to jump higher -- but there are other exercises that can take a cheerleader's skill to the next level.
Get Used to the Trampoline
If you've never used a trampoline for training before, don't climb on and start trying a new backflip. Instead, spend some time jumping up and down, helping your muscles learn how to keep your balance on an unstable surface while working on your jumping endurance. Once you feel comfortable, start jumping to different areas of the trampoline; for example, start in the center and direct your jump to one side, then bounce back into the middle. Also, stand at least a body length away from the edge and fall backward, letting your body bounce. Training on a trampoline means you're going to fall often, so it's best to get comfortable with it so you can tumble with confidence that you won't get hurt. However, always use a spotter to help make sure you don't get too close to the edge or get your body twisted while exercising.
Work on your jumps by doing several in immediate succession. Start with five jumps in a row, then work your way up to three sets of 10 jumps. You can do the same jump each time or change the jumps so you work on all of them in the same set. For example, you can move from a toe-touch immediately into a pike or hurdler. Focus on proper form and increasing the height of your jumps.
Practice your tumbling moves on the trampoline before trying them on the hard ground. Before you work on a back tuck or handspring, stand straight on the trampoline and lean backward, arching your back until your hands touch the trampoline. Perfect this bridge on the unstable surface before working on your tumbling. Bounce on the trampoline to gain the height you need before trying a flip in any direction. Start on an outer edge of the trampoline to give you room to practice your tumbling without falling off the other edge. Although tumbling moves that require a long space, such as a full cartwheel, may not work on smaller trampolines, you should be able to practice handsprings, tucks, flips and twists.
If you place a tumbling mat over the trampoline, it can help you transition to tumbling on the ground. Use a standard folding mat that's about 1 1/2 inches thick and cover the surface of the trampoline. This reduces the bounce factor, making you work harder to get the same height as on an uncovered trampoline. It still provides a cushioned surface to help keep you from getting hurt when you fall.