List of cheerleading stunts
Stunts are defined as building performances displaying a person's skill or dexterity. Stunting in cheerleading has been previously referred to as building pyramids. Stunts range from basic two-legged stunts to one-legged extended stunts and high flying basket tosses. There are numerous variations of each stunt, multiple entries and dismounts out of the stunt. Stunts vary at each level (level 1–6 according to the USASF). Each level increases the difficulty of the stunt. There are few recognized styles of stunting, coed, all-girl and hybrid.
This is the person that is in the air during a stunt. The flyer can also be referred to as the "top". The flyer must control their own weight by keeping their abdominal muscles tight to stabilize the spinal column while in the air. They also need to lock out their legs. If they don't stay tight, there is a greater risk of them becoming off of their center of balance and falling. They must keep a steady focus on what they are doing. Flyers should be healthy. A strong core and good sense of balance are key qualities for a flyer to possess. Flyers may be extremely flexible and have a good sense of balance. Flyers are typically the shorter and leaner people on the team, but other members can act as a flyer depending on their exceptional abilities. The flyers must always look open and never down. This will startle the flyer. Most of all the flyer is the one with the most confidence.
Bases and spotters
Bases are the athletes that hold the flyer or top in the air during the stunt. They are responsible for keeping their flyer in the air, as well as making sure she is safe at all times. Bases are very strong and are usually assigned together based on height to create level platform for the flyer to perform an action. There are few recognized styles of stunting: coed, all-girl, and hybrid. There are no gender requirements for a base, both males and females can be bases. Spotters should stand behind the stunt with their hands together and ready to catch if the stunt for some reason must come down.
This base has the majority of the flyer's foot and the majority of her weight. The main base will be almost directly under the stunt until it is cradled or brought down. In a one leg extension stunt, the main base will lift the toe and heel of the foot to increase stability from moving forwards or backwards. With single base extensions the main base with grip onto the heel of the flyers foot having a nice and stable transition. The main base is the "powerhouse" of one legged stunts because she/he holds roughly 80% of the flyers weight by having their arms extended directly over their head cupping the flyers foot from toe to heel, creating a "floor" for the flyers foot and stability.
The term second base only applies when doing a one-legged stunt. The second bases help lift the flyer up into the air and support the flyer's foot. The hand position for the side base can vary depending on preference. The more common placement is to have one hand under the middle of the foot and the other hand on top of the foot for stability. An uncommon option is to have one hand under the middle of the foot and the other hand pushing up on the wrist of the main base to lift from underneath. The second base's hand positioning functions to lift and to stabilize the flyer's foot from shifting from side to side.
The back spot is also called a "third". This is the person actively stabilizing the stunt from the back. They help to position the flyer in the bases hands upon entry. They support most of the weight of the flyer. They do so by using their hands to support the flyer's buttocks and ankles, and then push her up into the air. Once in the air, they will hold the flyer's ankles with both hands, pulling the ankles up to loosen the weight of the flyer for the bases and providing support. When the flyer cradles, they catch her under the arms to support the upper back and neck area. If the flyer falls backwards, it is crucial for the back to attempt to catch the head and shoulders to prevent head/spinal injury. Due to the back's responsibilities, they are generally the tallest members of the team. The back spot is the person who calls every action in the stunt. They are the only ones who talk during a stunt.
This is the person standing in front of the stunt facing the back base preventing the flyer from falling forward. The front spot often provides extra support to wrists of the bases in higher stunts such as extensions. The front spot has somewhat of the job of the back spot. Though the front spot is there, a flyer should never fall forward, rather backwards. There is not always a front spot in a stunt, and many squads only use front spots for basket tosses because it helps to throw straight upwards. Front spots are typically the smaller, weaker people of the squad, who have not been trained or are not flexible enough to fly, and are also not at the right height and strength to side or back. Front spots increase the stability of a stunt.
Additional (hands-off) spotter
This person does not actually touch the stunt unless something goes wrong. The free standing spot can stand behind, in front, or beside the stunt. Eyes stay on the stunt at all times even though the stunt is not touched unless the flyer is falling. If spotter must touch a stunt, points are deducted.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (September 2008)|
- Prep or Extension Prep
- A stunt in which flyer stands on two bases hands and is risen up to chin length height. The flyer may put her arms up. The prep is also called an "elevator" "double-base" "mini" or "half" in some regions.[verification needed]
- Cupie or Platform
- The Cupie is almost identical to the full extension except that the flyer's feet are together, in one hand of a single base or with one foot each in the hands of two bases. In a partner stunt the difference between a cupie and an awesome has to do with what the male is doing with his free hand. If the free hand is on the hip then it is a cupie, if the free hand is in a high V then it is an Awesome.
- In an Extension, also known as a "full", the flyer stands with each foot in the hands of a base while her arms are in an extended overhead position. The back can either hold the ankles of the flyer, or support the wrists of the bases depending on state rules. In a single-based stunt, the base will hold both of the flyer's feet above his or her head, with their arms locked.
- Split-lift or Teddy Sit
- The flier is in a seated straddle with the two side bases holding one hand on her thigh and one on her ankle. The back base holds up her butt with her hands and holds most of the weight.[clarification needed] This stunt is sometimes called a straddle sit.
- Thigh stand
- A thigh stand is one of the simplest stunts. The bases kneel on one leg or are in a lunge position. The bases have their feet touching each other by the sides of their shoes. The back spot will hold the flyer at the waist. She will then jump onto the bases' thighs.
- Shoulder stand
- In a shoulder stand, somebody stands on another person's shoulders. The base grabs their calves or ankles.
- Shoulder sit
- In a shoulder sit, the flyer sits on the base's shoulders and wraps her feet around the base's waist.
- Leapin' Lora
- The backspot is in a "rock" position, the flyer then jumps on the back of the backspot and bounces into the bases' hands.
- The main base brings the flyers left foot to belly button level, then the side bass brings her right leg to half, then the main base lifts the foot to full, and the side base lifts the right foot to full. While doing this the back base is holding the flyers ankles and is helping each base pull up. This stunt looks like the flyer is climbing up stairs and is also called 'Step Up'.
All of the body positions can be done at prep or extension level.
- Liberty (lib)
- One (or more) base(s) holds up the flyer by the standing foot (usually the right foot) and the flyer balances weight on the standing leg. The flyer's other leg is bent at a 90 degree angle, and the toe is pointed and touching the right knee. This stunt is named for the way it looks similar to the Statue of Liberty. The name of this stunt is often shortened to 'Lib'.
- One man
- This stunt is done with one base but other bases may be present to ease mounting. The flyer begins standing in front of the base. The base grabs the cheerleader's waist and the flyer puts their hands on their base's wrists to help push off. The base counts "1, 2" and throws the flyer up as high as possible, catching the middle of her feet at either chest level or full position. There are many variations that make this an elite stunt, such as adding a spin or tuck as the base throws.
- One or more bases holds up the flyer by the right foot and the flyer balances weight on the straightened right leg. The flyer then grabs the loose foot and bends that leg upward behind the body until the toes are close to the back of the head, in a position resembling a scorpion's tail. The foot is secured in place by the opposite hand. A more advanced variation of the scorpion is the "Chin-hold," where the flyer tucks her foot underneath her own chin and holds.
- One or more bases extend right foot. The flyer's other leg is held by his/her hand to the side and the leg is fully extended. The position is similar to the Scorpion, but one of the flyer's hands holds her ankle or calf (instead of her toes) and the other arm is in the High V position. Sometimes also called a 6 o'clock, or needle. When the flyer does the scale, the flyer would want to grab by the ankle and pull her leg into the scale.
- The same thing as doing a liberty, except executed with the torso facing to the side.
- Heel stretch
- It is a stunt in which the base/bases holds one foot of the flyer while she holds the other foot in her hand and brings it beside her head.
- Bow and arrow
- Variation of a heel stretch. The flyer grabs her left foot with the right hand, and pulls her leg straight up beside her head. Then she pulls her left arm and upper torso through the hole the leg and arm made, holding it straight.
- Variation of a bow and arrow. With the left foot still held by the right hand, the flyer wraps her left arm around her leg so her hand is behind her head. Then she grabs her left hand with her right hand, pulling her straight leg closer to her face.
- A needle is a variation of a scorpion. It is when you are in a scorpion but the leg you are holding is completely straight and your arms are completely straight.
- From a lib, the flyer points their leg out behind them and attempt to turn their hip socket out so when the leg is out straight, the front of the leg is facing the audience and their arms are in a "T" position. May also be pulled on someone kneeing.
- A hitch is a variation of the prep or extension. Usually in a pyramid. 3–5 people form a hitch pyramid. The two out-side flyers are usually on one girl's shoulders (in a shoulder sit). The two middle flyers are in an extension and give their left or right foot (depending which side) to the girl in the middle who holds the feet by her shoulders. This can also be done in a prep stunt, where one base stays at prep level and the other goes up to extension.
- No-hands/Chin Chin
- The flyer takes her foot, bends it under her chin, then lets it sit there with any helping hands.
- Running table-top
- When four flyers are bent over with a flat back like table-tops and the other flyer that is in a half quickly runs across their backs and goes into a half on the other side
- The base lifts the flyer onto his palm, which he then extends upwards into a Liberty position. She sits on his palm while he holds the ankle of one leg against his chest with his other arm. The flyer stunts with her arms and free leg.
- Pretty Girl
- When the bases put the flyer in an extended position or half, and when the flyer gets thrown into the air, the flyer puts her hand behind her head and lifts her leg into the lib position while in the air. Another way of doing this stunt is by going into a liberty position and placing your hands on your knee like a proper "pretty girl" or with one hand on your knee and the other behind your head or on your hip.
- Basket toss
- Flyer is thrown from an extension where she then hits a position with her legs in the air and her arms are extended reaching for her toes (or in a pose/ hand position) then lands in a cradle position.
The bases support the flyer's feet with their hands held on to one of their own wrists and one wrist of the other base. The flyer's feet are placed side by side on top of the bases' hands. The backspot is supporting the flyer by holding onto her thighs.
Basket toss positions
- Toe-touch basket
- The flyer is thrown from an extension where she fully extends her arms by her ears, using her shoulders to set up. Then, at the peak of the toss, the flyer will bring both of her legs to her chest. Her legs are straddled and straight, parallel to the ground, with her toes pointed; her hands are in fists or blades and arms in a "T" motion. After executing this pose in the basket, the flyer will squeeze her legs together to land in a cradle position.
- Pike basket
- The flyer is thrown from an extension where she fully extends her arms by her ears, using her shoulders to set up. Then, at the peak of the toss, the flyer will bring her chest to her knees and her knees to her chest (her body is now in a folded position). Subsequently, on the way down, the flyer will then arch her back (unfold) and land in a cradle position.
- Kick-single/Double basket
- The flyer is thrown from an extension where she fully extends her arms by her ears, using her shoulders to set up. Then, at the peak of the toss, the flyer will drop her left arm by her side and bring her right leg up to her right arm (which is still up by her ears), then she will spin either once or twice by wrapping her leg over and looking the way she is spinning with her head, depending on the basket. After executing this body position, the flyer will land in a cradle position.
- Straight ride basket
- The flyer is thrown from an extension where she fully extends her arms by her ears, using her shoulders to set up. Then, the flyer will stand slightly at a diagonal. After doing this, the flyer will land in a cradle position.
Two-and-a-half high stunts
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (September 2008)|
- The A-Frame
- Swedish Fall
- 2-1-1 (Technically a 3 high pyramid if the top flier is in an extended stunt but still considered legal)
- Table Top
- Wolf Wall
- High Split
- High Chair (also high hands, lib, cupie, etc.)
- Safety - Cheer Glossary. U.S. All Star Federation.
- "2007-08 USASF Glossary". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-08-06.