How to Use Physics in Tumbling for Cheerleading

by David Montoya, Demand Media

    Cheerleading involves series of complex moves on the ground and in the air. To properly perform stunts such as tumbling, a cheerleader must have the right physics. Specifically, Isaac Newton's second law of physics applies. This law states that the force of an object is a product of the object's mass multiplied by its acceleration. The most common equation displaying this principle is F = M x A. Use this simple formula to improve your tumbling technique by increasing force.

    Step 1

    Attempt a standard tumble before you begin to make your physics calculation. When finished, determine how well you tumbled. Some problems include the inability to complete the tumble due to a lack of speed or losing your form because you're moving too quickly.

    Step 2

    Change your approach to your tumble based on observations from your first attempt. The equation you must use to balance your tumble is F = M x A. If you didn't have enough force behind your tumble (meaning you couldn't complete it), add more acceleration when picking up speed. Additional acceleration creates more force. Conversely, reduce your acceleration if you tumbled too quickly. This reduces the force behind the tumble. You can hypothetically add mass to also increase force, but most cheerleaders use uniforms. This leaves little to no option on how to add mass to your body when performing.

    Step 3

    Attempt another tumble after you have made your calculations. If you perform your tumble perfectly, you made the perfect adjustments based on Newton's second law of physics. If not, continue to adjust your acceleration based on the F = M x A formula.

    Step 4

    Feel the ground you're tumbling on to ensure you have the proper friction. Friction is the force applied to two different objects when they press against each other. To see this physics principle in motion, press your hands lightly together and rub. Next, push your hands even harder and rub. Notice your hands have a harder time moving when you apply more pressure. This results from friction, a necessary aspect of the cheerleader's tumble because you need significant friction between the ground and your feet and hands to maintain acceleration and force. Make sure the ground provides the appropriate friction and does not have any slippery or smooth spots that you can slip on.

    About the Author

    David Montoya is an attorney who graduated from the UCLA School of Law. He also holds a Master of Arts in American Indian studies. Montoya's writings often cover legal topics such as contract law, estate law, family law and business.

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