By SAMANTHA HEARN
Have you ever watched a football game and wondered how the cheerleaders stay so fit? There’s a lot more to it than just dancing, that’s for sure.
For the Tennessee Titans Cheerleaders, led by Director Stacie Kinder, athleticism takes on a warrior mentality with intense workouts that include 300-yard shuttle runs, military push ups, eight minute mile runs and more.
Kinder partnered with the Kindersport Foundation, led by husband and former U.S. Olympian Gary Kinder, to host a fitness training event for Belmont University students last Friday that showed students exactly how the Titans Cheerleaders prepare for game day.
“The objective is to get them ready to take on a three-hour performance every Sunday,” Gary said. “I came up with a specific work out to try to help them start training.”
The workout, a five-station test, covers upper body strength, lower body strength, ab/core strength, general endurance and Lactic Acid tolerance.
It starts with a 300-yard shuttle run. The interval training uses simple progressions of shuttle runs beginning at four sets of five legs at 10 yards. Over time, those numbers are increased to two sets of 12 legs at 25 yards, and alternate training modes include hill sprints, flat track interval training and high rep weight training.
After the shuttle run comes 25 push ups, military style. This means keeping your elbows tucked to the sides when you perform the exercise, getting you more activation in your triceps.
“This is a simple but highly effective movement,” Kinder said. “Again, we begin with smaller pieces of work and build up to 25 and beyond.”
The Kinders recommend five sets of 10 to start, and increasing from there over time. Alternate training ideas include incline push-ups, bench dips, inch worms and bench pressing.
After the push ups come 25 V-ups. A V-up is a pretty advanced core exercise that targets the abs, while also working your internal and external obliques. To do this move, lie on the ground with your legs straight and feet together. Keeping the legs straight, lift them up and at the same time raise your upper body off of the floor, reaching for your toes with your hands.
“This is a highly coordinated movement that I included merely to torture the cheerleaders,” Kinder said. “Begin by learning the proper movement and always be aware of the technique.”
Next is a 100 step test using a 12” box. Kinder recommends three to four sets of 10 step ups with each lead leg, quickly increasing to three to four sets of 30 on each side. Complimentary training exercises for this set include stadium stair running, low to intermediate plyometric jumps, and lower body strength circuits like squats, lunges and lateral squats.
The final piece of the Titans Cheerleader workout includes a one mile run in eight minutes.
“The simplest way to train for this task is to run a mile and challenge yourself to increase your pace as you become more fit,” Kinder said. “This is also the most boring way, so I suggest varying your training by changing up the workout to include ideas such as three 800 meter runs with three minutes rest in between, eight laps around a football or soccer field with a one minute walk between, or an intense 30-minute session on the bicycle.”
One of the best things about the Titans Cheerleader workout? Almost no equipment is required, making it clear that improvement mainly comes from your individual choice to move. While this exercise routine might be strenuous for some, the Titans Cheerleaders endure much more in reality.
“This isn’t all of their training,” Kinder said. “It’s a guide to what we can do to be able to last three hours during a game. Individually, they are great tests but what makes it different is we do all of this in one workout.”
For more information, visit www.titansonline.com/cheerleaders.