An abridged guide to cheerleading stunts

If you were awake at all during high school, you've probably seen these in action, when the members of a cheerleading squad stop dancing and get into formations, climb on each other's shoulders, or make human pyramids. Those formations and poses are called stunts and require strength, balance and timing.

Below is a very abridged guide to cheerleading stunts typically seen during a cheerleading routine, designed to get you basic information without going into the elaborate details of each and every maneuver. Each stunt can be altered to display different extensions, dismounts and poses.

The Players

1. The Base: The person at the bottom of the formation who supports the girls above. Generally the strongest members.

2. The Flyer: The girl at the top of the formation who is held up by the base. Only the lightest girls are flyers.

3. The Spotter:The most integral part of the formation, spotters help the flyer get into the stunt, and are responsible for her safety. They are also charged with keeping the rhthym or count, so that the other members remain synchronized.

Basic Stunts

Shoulder Sit: A two-member stunt where the flyer sits on top of base's shoulders, with legs curled around the base's arms.

Thigh Stand: Two bases lunge toward each other, as a flyer stands on their thighs, arms in a V.

Cupie:Two bases stand together and hold the flyer by her feet and ankles as she stands upright.

Shoulder Stand: Flyer stands on base's shoulders, arms outstretched, as base supports the backs of the flyer's knees.

Wake-Up: Like the shoulder stand, only the flyer stands on the base's hands, which are locked in front of her shoulders.

Advanced Stunts

Liberty: 2-3 bases support flyer's ankle as she balances on one leg, hand outstretched like the Statue of Liberty with the opposite thigh posed perpendicular to the waist.

Heel Stretch: Like Liberty, only the flyer elongates her leg and supports it with one hand, the other outstretched to form what looks like a "Y."

Basket Toss: Four or more members act as bases who criss-cross their arms to make a "basket" for the flyer. On the proper count, they hoist the flyer into the air. She does a pose mid-air and lands safely in the basket.


To make a pyramid, the squad breaks into several groups to do stunts. Options include having the entire squad do the same stunt, for a symmetric effect or having more simplistic stunts on the sides of the formation that become more elaborate stunts in the center of the squad.

An effective cheerleading coach will create new stunts with her team, allowing for innovation and creativity rather than doing the same tired poses. In a year, it is typical for a squad to have a repertoire of at least 10 basic stunts and 3-5 elaborate ones.

etouffee says "I only like ONE kind of cheerleader involves the back seat of a Chevelle...:)