Gymnastics and cheerleading are two physically demanding sports that require a great deal of skill, strength, and dedication. Both sports have been around for decades and continue to be popular, attracting thousands of participants every year. Both are also considered to be challenging in their own ways, making it difficult to determine which is harder. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at both gymnastics and cheerleading to see how they compare and what makes each one so challenging.
Gymnastics: A Test of Strength and Flexibility
Gymnastics is a sport that demands a combination of physical and mental toughness. It requires a great deal of strength, flexibility, and coordination, as gymnasts perform a series of acrobatics, flips, and twists on various apparatus, such as the balance beam, vault, bars, and floor. In addition to these skills, gymnasts must also have a high level of endurance, as they must perform their routines without stopping.
One of the biggest challenges in gymnastics is the level of precision required. Every move must be executed with perfect form and timing, and even the slightest mistake can result in a deduction from the score. This level of precision takes years of training and practice to master, and even then, gymnasts must always strive for improvement.
Cheerleading: A Combination of Dance and Tumbling
Cheerleading is a sport that combines dance and tumbling, as cheerleaders perform a series of cheers, stunts, and pyramids to support their team. Cheerleading requires a great deal of strength, flexibility, and coordination, as cheerleaders must lift, toss, and catch each other with precision. In addition to these skills, cheerleaders must also have a high level of endurance, as they must perform their routines without stopping.
One of the biggest challenges in cheerleading is the level of trust required. Cheerleaders must trust each other completely, as their safety and success depend on their ability to work together as a team. This level of trust takes years of training and practice to develop, and even then, cheerleaders must always be aware of each other and work together seamlessly.
What are the hardest stunts in cheerleading?
Cheerleading stunts can vary in difficulty, and the hardest stunts depend on individual skill level and experience. However, here are some of the most challenging stunts in cheerleading:
- Full-Up Extension: A full-up extension is a stunt where the flyer is lifted up to an extended position and then lowered back down by the bases. This stunt requires a great deal of strength, coordination, and trust from both the flyer and the bases.
- Liberty: A liberty is a stunt where the flyer stands on one base’s shoulder while the other base holds the flyer’s foot. This stunt requires a great deal of trust, coordination, and strength from all participants.
- Basket Toss: A basket toss is a stunt where the flyer is thrown into the air and then caught by the bases. This stunt requires a great deal of trust, coordination, and strength from all participants, and it can be especially challenging for flyers who are lighter.
- Heel Stretch: A heel stretch is a stunt where the flyer is lifted into the air and then stretches their legs back and down while being supported by the bases. This stunt requires a great deal of trust, coordination, and strength from all participants.
- Double Down: A double down is a dismount where two flyers are caught by the bases and then lowered to the ground. This stunt requires a great deal of trust, coordination, and strength from all participants.
Even the best gymnasts would find it difficult to learn the harder stunts in cheer but the levels of strength and conditioning required in gymnastics would help considerably.
Tumbling difficulty levels compared
Tumbling is a big aspect of both gymnastics and cheerleading, and many of the individual skills cross over between the two.
In the highest levels of cheerleading, harder tumbling passes include:
- Double full twists
- Double somersaults
- Arabian Somersaults
- Multiple Back Handsprings
The same Tumbling skills would be considered fairly straightforward in elite gymnastics. In fact, the highest level gymnasts compete tumbles including:
- Triple somersaults
- Triple twists
- Multiple twisting somersaults
Gymnastics undoubtedly contains harder tumbling skills but there are some factors that should be taken into consideration.
- Cheerleaders often need to choreograph their tumbles to synchronize with others around them.
- Cheerleaders wear shoes compared to barefoot gymnasts (its harder to tumble in shoes).
- Gymnastics floors and tumble tracks are often bouncier than floors that cheerleaders use.
How many hours a week do cheerleaders train?
The number of hours per week that cheerleaders train can vary greatly depending on their skill level, competition schedule, and personal goals. On average, competitive cheerleaders can train anywhere from 10 to 20 hours per week, although some may train more or less. Some elite cheerleaders may train as many as 30 hours per week or more, while others may only train a few hours per week if they are just starting out or are not competing at a high level. The amount of training also depends on factors such as the age and skill level of the cheerleader, as well as the type of cheerleading they are participating in (e.g. all-star, school, or recreational).
In comparison, elite gymnasts train up to 40 hours per week.
Not all gymnasts will train as intensively as this and there will be plenty of gymnasts at lower levels that train only for only a fraction of this amount.
The Verdict: Which is Harder?
Ultimately, it is difficult to determine which sport is harder, as both gymnastics and cheerleading have their own unique challenges. Whether it’s the level of precision required in gymnastics or the level of trust required in cheerleading, both sports require a great deal of skill, strength, and dedication.
In conclusion, gymnastics and cheerleading are both incredibly challenging sports that test the limits of physical and mental toughness. Whether you’re a gymnast or a cheerleader, you know the level of hard work and dedication that goes into each sport. So, the next time someone asks you which is harder, you can proudly say that both gymnastics and cheerleading are incredibly challenging, and that’s what makes them so rewarding.