Behind the scenes: an inside look at the cheerleading conditioning program


Claire Peralta, Staff Reporter

While most students would still be in bed asleep, the Leopard cheer squad is up and running. In addition to their high-flying stunts and peppy cheers, they also have to keep themselves conditioned and in shape for the many games and pep rallies throughout the year, spreading school spirit.

“Every morning, we warm up by running, either around the perimeter of the school, or laps around the gym,” senior cheerleader Lauren Sanders said.  “Then Coach Leary or Petty will lead us in “tabatas”, a short, intensive workout where you do quick repetitions of a workout move in a pattern.”

Cheerleading is an intense workout that requires strength and endurance.   However, this year’s conditioning program is a new thing for the squad.

“I started (conditioning) at the beginning of the year,” cheer coach Sandi Petty said. “When we were in volleyball and football playoff seasons we backed off a little bit because we were preparing for pep rallies and games, but we still did try to keep it going as much as possible.”

The workouts are improving the team’s strength and performance.

“It has definitely made us more in shape,” Sanders said, “Conditioning strengthened our already very strong endurance.”

Though it may seem like this is a positive thing to most people, some cheerleaders aren’t sold on the workouts.

“I think that it sometimes takes away from our ability to rehearse and practice for other things that could be more important,” sophomore cheerleader Lexa Mapes.

Most sports have an off season, but that is not the case for cheer.

“We have been conditioning all year to keep us healthy,” sophomore cheerleader Emily Teague said.

Even those cheerleaders that question the time spent on conditioning can admit there are some positives to working out.

“It’s a good thing that (the coaches) are trying to keep us in shape, and it also sets an example for the shape that we should be in,” Mapes said.

Although some people are surprised by the year-long conditioning program, the cheerleaders think it’s a natural part of being on the squad.

“I don’t see why it’s such a big deal that cheer works out and conditions,” Sanders said.  “We are a sport just like anyone else, and we need to condition and strengthen our muscles just like any other sport.”