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Pom-pom Power
Ben Reiter
November 20, 2006
Cheerleaders pull up their boots and train for Sundays on the sidelines
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November 20, 2006

Pom-pom Power

Cheerleaders pull up their boots and train for Sundays on the sidelines

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Three evenings a week, for three hours at a stretch, choreographer Trisia Brown leads the Dolphins' 40 cheerleaders through a workout no less intense than those run by Miami coach Nick Saban in the adjacent practice bubble. The room thunders with the impact of 80 three-inch high-heeled boots (which the cheerleaders never take off during their workout) hitting the hardwood floor as the women, ages 18 to 36, power through routines with only one five-minute break.

Cheerleading combines elements of aerobics, plyometrics (a training discipline based on bounding and jumping) and yoga. The practices prepare the group for Sundays that include continuous dancing and kicklines on the sideline, and up to four rigorous in-game routines, all for a wage of $75 per game. (Cheerleaders are either students or have full-time jobs.) "You try walking around for five hours in those boots and holding those poms," says Brown (left). "It's tougher than it looks." Here's how they get ready.

NECK MOVES

"Without stretching, neck injuries would be common," says team director Heather Fraga. Brandi Bloomberg (right) will hold this stretch for several seconds. A limber neck also helps Bloomberg flaunt what she calls her "greatest tool": her hair.

SPLITS

Cheerleaders such as Janeen Chavarry (left) hold the pose for a minute, and alternate the forward leg. Splits (with arms overhead) stretch the hamstrings and quads, preparing the women for the hundreds of kicks they perform; the move also develops strength in the legs and core, helping cheerleaders do jump splits, which, Brown says, "are a crowd-pleaser."

TURNING POINTS

Megan Danforth (below) and her peers do about 15 pirouettes a practice. The spins are done on the ball of one foot (with the other leg bent as shown) with abs tight and arms out front in a circle. Integral to several routines, spins improve balance and coordination. Says Fraga, "They strive for doubles"--two rotations--"some do three, the best four. But that's rare."

Kickin' Pics

For more Dolphins cheerleader photos go to SI.com/players.

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