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‘I Tried Working Out Like An NFL Cheerleader For 3 Days—Here’s What Happened’ Fitness Cheerleader
Fitness Cheerleader – After a blissful nine hours of sleep, I wake up in a comfortable, fluffy bed at Bahia Principe Ambar Green Hotel & Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I should therefore be well-rested and ready to go for my workout today. My neck is uncomfortable, though, and as I sit up among the bright white cushions, I quickly realize this. And it’s not because I slept strangely or have a neck ache from the travel. Instead, it’s because I practiced sexy hair flips for hours the day before by repeatedly tossing my hair. Or hair-graph, as the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders refer to it.
This, my friends, is an essential aspect of cheerleading practice that I wasn’t anticipating. Sage Cephalalgia, 26, a co-captain of the Eagles cheer squad, adds, “I never expected that either when I first started, and it’s weird because you never really think about your neck being sore.” But turning your entire head of hair around requires work. Even after all these years, I don’t think my neck has gotten used to it. (She has performed in this capacity for six seasons.)
When I signed up to sweat with this group of 35 women, who were on location for their annual calendar photoshoot, I knew that I would be attending plenty of dance practices, stretch sessions, and yoga classes. And I wasn’t worried—I work out regularly, and while I don’t have a dance background, I figured I’d attended enough 305 Fitness classes that I could pull through without a problem. But honestly, this neck thing threw me. I’ve seen cheerleaders do plenty of hair flips on the sidelines of football games, but it’s always so quick that I didn’t think they were a big deal. But like anything you do 50 times over, a tiny hair flip can get the best of you. And it certainly got to me.
That Hair Flip Requires Thought. Fitness Cheerleader
I initially thought learning how to do a hair flip from Sage and Victoria would be very easy. First, flip your hair over. Next, flip your hair back. Was it done—right?
Not really. You must first engage your core, take stuttering steps, and softly bend your knees to perform the hair flip down. Then you sway your knees till you’re essentially in a half-lunge, shaking your chest and flicking your hair over. Remember that you have pom poms in your hands, and don’t forget to spread your arms to your sides. Next, you straighten your knees, maintain swaying your chest, and flick your chin sharply upward to flip back. The crucial step is the last; if you don’t, your hair won’t grow back over, and instead, you’ll look like this.
So, yeah. Hair flips are a lot firmer than they look.
Shake what your momma gave you. Fitness Cheerleader
When Sage and Victoria weren’t teaching me how to whip my hair back and forth and practicing it repeatedly in my hotel room, they were showing me how to do bumps, which is a dance sequence that is performed on the sidelines while the game is in progress and lasts for 18 to 24 counts. I became aware of how relaxed I needed to be as I moved through each eight-count of movement so they could flow into one another without interruption. “You need to loosen up; you’re too stiff.” Sage continued to tell me. Come on, and you’ve got sass, said Victoria in agreement. Since no one in the audience will believe you if you don’t think it, their support gave me the confidence to go for it, and in the end, I was swinging, shaking, and swaying my hips more than I always have in my life.
Get used to having your hair down.
One of my biggest pet peeves as someone who works out and sweats quite a bit is having greasy, sticky hair clinging to my neck. In cheerleading Bootcamp, the girls wore their hair down for everything, so I needed to fast get over that. Even when it’s over 90 degrees and humid, as it was in Punta Cana, their hair is down during dance rehearsals, yoga courses, stretch sessions, and other activities. The yoga practice was moderately unpleasant, but I didn’t hate it for the most part. My strands were essentially trying to smother me anytime I changed from an inversion to an upright stance because gentle flows didn’t permit intense hair flips. At least, the images appear to be. Need to add more stretching to your day? Try this yoga for everyday athletes:
Bring the ‘Tude. Fitness Cheerleader
The most vital aspect of becoming an Eagles cheerleader is mental, even though hair flips and good dance moves are essential. Sage told me, “You have to have confidence. “Naturally, you can foster someone’s confidence and help it grow, but you can’t simply make someone confident. The girls must possess that component before the rest of the puzzle can begin to come together.
When I attended rehearsal (the squad typically has three-hour practices twice a week), there was one particular moment where confidence was on full display: the walk about halfway through training. Fitness Cheerleader The ladies lined up in rows of five women on one side of the studio. Then, “When I Grow Up” by The Pussycat Dolls started blasting through the speakers, and, I kid you not, these ladies remained transformed.
Suddenly there were 35 fierce, untouchable women strutting across the floor with so much sass they would’ve rivaled Beyonce. Each step remained made with purpose, with heads held high and personality infused into every movement. Sitting there, I wanted to be one of those women. So I got up and worked on my strut, pointing my toes and lengthening my legs like never before. And now, whenever I need a confidence boost, I cue up that song as a reminder that I, too, can be just as fierce.