Caroline Proctor, Steven R. Wilson, & Adam J. Bruenger; University of Central Arkansas, Conway, AR

Research performed on cheerleading focuses on injury rates. There is minimal research about strength and power levels of cheerleaders (CL) and how these variables change during a season. These variables may be a factor for the high injury rates experienced by CL. PURPOSE: To measure body composition, strength, and vertical jump ability before and after a cheerleading season. METHODS: 36 collegiate CL (23 Females; age = 20 ± 1 y; height = 65 ± 3 in; weight = 124 ± 18 lb;13 Males; age = 22 ± 2 y; height = 69 ± 2 in; weight = 176 ± 25 lb) were assessed for % body fat, isometric maximal strength using a mid thigh pull (IP) and a shoulder press (IPR), and vertical jump ability in both static (SJ) and countermovement (CJ) conditions at the beginning of the their competitive season and after their final competition (~ 4 months). These CL had regular practices, but no organized strength program. Body composition was determined using standardized 7 site protocols. 3 repetitions of IP and IPR were performed maximally for 5 seconds on a force plate and the maximal force obtained was normalized to body weight and averaged. 3 repetitions of SJ and CJ were performed on a force plate and jump height was averaged. RESULTS: 2 x 2 (Gender X Pre/Post) repeated measure ANOVAS were performed for each variable. Only CJ height significantly decreased from the preseason to postseason (Table 1). CONCLUSION: This study is the first to evaluate CL’s strength levels using the IP and IPR providing normative data for comparison with other athletes. The CL maintained strength levels throughout the season without an organized strength program. However, the CL experienced a decrease in CJ performance that could have an influence on their ability to perform stunts during competition.

Table 1: Pre- and Post-Season Measurements.



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