How To Do Basic Cheerleading Motions Part 1

by omni
cheerleading motions

Want stunting advice and tips for cheerleading or gymnastics? Then you’ve come to the right place! Check out all of Omni Blog’s how-to articles on stunts and tumbling. We’ll walk you through the basics, from simple cheerleading motions and jumps, like toe touches, to advanced tumbling, like handsprings.

A cheerleader’s motions are the backbone of her ability. It’s great, and super fun, to be able to do amazing cheerleading jumps, twist and flip your way through tumbling passes and fly high during stunt tricks, but you have to have the technique too! Most moves in cheerleading are an extension of a basic move, so it is always good to learn through progression, starting with the basics.

Mastering the basic cheer motions will help you hit the more advanced stunts like a pro, which will be important during routines and at cheerleading competitions. If you perform a move, but don’t hit your motions right, the judges will likely take points away from your team.

This is a general overview of some basic cheer motions with the focus on the position of the arms. You may perform them, or see them performed, slightly different. These motions can be used while a cheerleader is on the ground or when she is up in a stunt, so the position of the feet will vary from being shoulder width apart to being together, depending on when and how it is being used.

High V

Extend your arms upwards and at a 45-degree angle from your head with your hands in fists. Keep your thumbs facing out and your pinkies facing back.

Low V

Extend your arms downwards and at a 45-degree angle from your body with your hands in fists. Keep your thumbs facing out and your pinkies facing back.


Extend both arms straight up, and bring them in line with your body so that your arms touch your ears. Keep your hands in fists, with your fingers facing in and your knuckles facing out.

Low Touchdown

Extend both arms straight down, and bring them in tight with your body. Arms should be in line with, but pulled slightly in front of the legs. Keep your hands in fists, with your thumbs facing the crowd and your pinkies facing your body, with your fingers facing each other.


Bend your elbows and bring your arms in tight to your body. Your elbows should be pulled in and pointed down, and your hands should be just below your chin. Keep your hands in fists, with your fingers facing in and your knuckles facing out. Your thumbs will be toward your body, and your pinkies will be away from your body.


Extend one arm straight up (into the Touchdown position). The other arm is resting on the hip, with the hand in a fist. That elbow should be pointing to your side. The punch can be done as a right punch or left punch. The arm in the Touchdown position determines which move it is (if the right arm is in a Touchdown, it is a right punch).


Sharp Moves. Your muscles should be tight and your arms should be stiff when you are hitting your motions. A loose arm will make the motion sloppy. Don’t just put your arms into position, snap them into position!

Straight Lines. All of your lines should be straight, and this includes making sure your wrists don’t bend. Keep your wrists tight too, and make sure they are aligned with your arms.

Thumbs Up. Never tuck your thumbs inside your fist. Instead, lay them across your fingers on the outside of the fist.

Spot On. Through practice, you will gain muscle memory and know exactly where you need to hit a motion. While you are learning, remember that your arms should never be behind you. Always keep them slightly in front of you when performing a motion.

No Shrugs. Your shoulders should be low and relaxed and your neck should be extended. Do not shrug your shoulders up.

The Shortest Distance. Instead of bringing your arms all the way out and around to hit a motion, practice bringing them forward then up in one swift, fast move.

Get your arms ready for motions by using these arm strengthening exercises in your fitness routine.


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