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Let's help this GL reader make the cheerleading squad!

 
I’m thinking about trying out for cheerleading next year. How should I prepare?
 
Go Y-O-U! Cheering is a great way to stay in shape, improve your flexibility and be a part of a high-flying team. But, just like any other sport, ya gotta put in some effort before tryouts. Here’s my advice on how to get prepped:
 
Do Stretch it Out
In order to get those toe-touches sky-high, you’ve gotta stretch. Warm up for a couple of minutes and then do some dance- and gymnastics-inspired stretches (you know, sitting with your legs in a “V” shape and reaching for your toes, etc.). Work on getting limber and loosening those hamstrings. The truth? Practicing your splits is a great idea, too.
 
Don’t Stunt Solo
…or with your buds. Stunting should only be done when your coach is around. Too many girls get seriously injured cheering every year—don’t be one of them. Instead, work on your balance (try yoga to improve core strength and stability) and lift weights. When it comes time to stunt, your bod will be in top shape. Throw the occasional run or cardio session into the mix, too.
 
Do Shake It
And I don’t mean poms. Depending on the squad, dancing can be a big part of cheering. Taking a class might help, but so will breakin’ it down in your bedroom. Blast Lady Gaga and get into the groove.
 
Don’t Flip Out
Cheering teams have all different takes on tumbling. Talk to some girls on the squad to see if there are required skills. Then, sign up for a tumbling class if you have to make major improvements to your skill set (ie, if you can do a cartwheel, but you need to master a back handspring before tryouts). Never, EVER try throwing gymnastics moves without learning how to do them first, OK?
 
Do Smile
Yep, practicing those facials may feel a little goofy (seriously, try smiling at yourself in the mirror for minutes on end). Getting used to being extra cheery now will help you exude just-right energy when it’s time to try out.

Good luck, girl! Do any cheertastic readers have some advice to share?

BY KATIE ABBONDANZA ON 9/9/2010 12:22:00 PM

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