How to Do Cheerleading Stunts


No matter if you're doing a prep or a level 6 skill, these basic technique tips will help you perfect that stunt you're working on, and make it SAFE.

SAFETY: Needless to say: the HEAD is the most important thing to protect. But did you know that most flyers hit the ground AFTER they've been caught!? This is mainly because once 'caught', the flyer seems to be out of danger, and the bases loosen the grip or do not commit to the end. In case you need to perform an emergency catch, make sure to lift them back to a standing position before letting go!

LEGS: Look at your legs, then look at your arms. It's not difficult to see which one has the bigger muscles, and therefore which needs to do the lifting! Use your legs, and DIP and extend as much as you can – co-ordinating with your arms. If your legs extend before your arms, then you will not have enough elevation power to perform the stunt! Also beware of bending too low (for stunts such as liberties). Your hips should NEVER be positioned below the knees, or your balance (and therefore your force) will be distributed unequally and compromise the stunt from going up.


CORE: The core of your body gives you strength and stability. Without a good core strength you do not only risk injury, but you are making every single skill much harder than it should be. Most cheerleading athletes don't realise that many skills can be mastered simply by mastering better core strength. The best way to train this? Handstands, handstands and more handstands! If you cannot hold a handstand yet - we highly recommend headstands instead as a lower progression.


It's all about the LEGS, CORE and the POSTURE.

POSTURE: Make sure you always keep your back STRAIGHT! 70% of bases perform their stunts incorrectly, aka as 'Cheer Grandmas'. Ditch the hunchback, keep your shoulders back, engage the core, and your shoulders should be exactly parallel to your hips. Not only this will give you more power, but will also avoid you getting injured!

DIPS: double dips (ie dip for 2 counts instead of one) will give you more force, and therefore a higher pop.

FEEL THE LOVE: stay close together. Close enough? Get closer still! Bases that are too far apart will be pushed out event further. By staying under the stunt, this will not happen and your stunt will go higher faster, and become more stable.

GRIPS: Grips need to be strong but ORGANIC. If your grip is stiff (especially in baskets) , you will risk injuring yourself as muscles are more vulnerable, but also you will not have the possibility to react and adjust the grip if you need to. Also check that your grip is not putting too much strain on your wrists (for example sandwich grip on libs), and explore safer techniques.


CRADLES: Catch HIGH, and absorb the catch. A stiff catch will make you lose your balance, and clean up your stunt with a clean at the end. A stunt with no clean at the end is like a sentence without a full stop

Clunking heads? Remember to turn your head to the front once you've made contact with the flyer, and bounce back from the catch without leaving and dead time to sink into it

Read above (BASES) plus:

  • Your job is to help stabilize the stunt, so don't worry so much about lifting, as much as 'securing'. Leave ankles to the backspots, and instead give more power and stability to the stunt by adding a 'turbo' to baskets and cradles (by placing hands under the grips), and on bases wrists during lifts. Don't 'direct' their hands by forcing them to go one way or another, but allow them to move freely whilst helping them to get steady.

  • Make sure you move to the side for cradles, and catch flyers just under the knees if they are coming back down to smush.

  • Once the group has mastered the stunt, they should be able to do this without your help!



  • Control, control, and more control! Do you hear yourself saying: “The grip was bad!” “The left base was lower” “the backspot didn't push enough”?

  • Did you know that flyers can control most of the stunt whilst in the air, and a lot of the time these excuses are synonyms of lazyness..?

  • Skeptical!? Get yourself in a prep. Now try and push your bases out with your feet ( as if going down into the box splits) and back in by squeezing your ankles together (going into cupie). We call this drill the accordeon. Didn't work? Try harder!

KEEP IN CLEAN the way in which you move is the most noticeable thing about you. It doesn't matter if you're able to do a level 1 or level 6 skill, it's all about how you move. Ask yourself:


  • Do you have set counts form moving whilst you're in the air?

  • Do you look confident?

  • Are your arms neat, or are they flinging about?

  • Are your thumbs tucked in when in blades?

  • Are you PERFORMING!?


Imagine that every move you make is taken as a photograph. You're posing for the photographer, in EVERY MOVE that you make. The key is to know what body position you need to hit, and practice getting there as quickly and efficiently as possible. HIT. EVERY. COUNT!

Make sure you trust your bases. If you're having an issue with this speak to your coach and either work on some basics first and do some trust exercises with your group. Perhaps get your bases to fly too, so that they know what it fees like!


GRANDMA / CHICKEN: When in the smush / squish / sponge position, most flyers wrongly hold the 'grandma position'. This means their back is hunched, all their weight is in their feet, and the buttocks sinking to the ground. Unless your bases are Amazons or body builders (and even they might find it challenging), it will make it almost impossible for them to lift you. PERK UP, and transform yourself into a chicken!


  • All your weight should be in your arms, NOT the feet.

  • Back should be straight, almost curved IN.

  • Your backside should be higher than your knees. Tail up and proud!


Test your position: 1) get into smush without your backspot 2) ask your bases to take away their hands. If your position is correct, you should be able to hold yourself up on your own.

In a stunt, remember to:

  • Hands: Squeeze your High V forwards and upwards, as if you're hanging from a bar on the ceiling.

  • Shoulders: down, relaxed. There are no Uncle Festers in cheer.

  • Head: Look up and lift your chin. If you look down, it's likely to crumble

  • Back and core: Straight, squeeze it all in towards the centre

  • Hip: Keep them square. If you're on one leg, lift your hip up on the leg that is up

  • Backside: Squeeeeeeze! (clench a penny!)

  • Knees: Lock out. You'll think they're straight. Likelihood is they're not. Pull up!

  • Feet: Lift your toes up in your shoes to avoid pointing down.


  • When you're cradling or performing a basket toss: Wait for the toss and keep your legs straight. Don't ever jump out.

  • Ride up with your arms and shoulders

  • At the very height of the toss, take that invisible bar you were holding onto and imagine breaking it across your hips. At the same time, squeeze your backside and push your hips forward very rapidly.

  • Keep your hands clean to your sides as you get caught into the cradle with a butterfly catch, or catch yourself with 'meat hooks' / 'bear catch' at the last moment. Whichever you choose, don't 'flap' your arms!.

  • Keep your toes pointed and ankles welded together throughout. You will naturally pike a little bit as you get caught, but don't exaggerated or all your acceleration force will accumulate onto that areas and you will plummet through your bases arms.


Learn the basic techniques for pom, cheer dance and sideline cheerleading while you have fun!​ CHEER PRO™ Dance Fitness choreography is based on chorus & verse structure so you can easily learn a full routine in very little time! Work out at home or use the routines for classes and performances.​

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