Herkie or Hurdler? Know the Difference

The most commonly confused cheerleading jumps are the Herkie and the Hurdler. Do you know the difference?

herkie jump
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The original Herkie jump!

The Herkie was made famous by the “grandfather of cheerleading,” Lawrence Herkimer. He’s the man responsible for inventing the first pom pons, and holding the first NCA cheerleading camps. He always showed his enthusiasm for teaching cheerleading with his signature jump, “The Herkie”!

The Side Hurdler sometimes gets confused with the Herkie. It looks similar in the air with one leg straight and one leg bent. It requires similar power and skill, with one slight difference – the angle of your knee in your bent leg.

side hurdler cheerleading jump
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Side Hurdler perfection!

The Side Hurdler requires you to lift your bent leg so it’s parallel to the ground with the knee up, pointing toward the audience. It’s called a side hurdler cheer jump because it looks like you’re jumping over an invisible hurdle like a runner in track! If you don’t lift your knee, you’d knock over the hurdle…and it would be bad form for both jumping hurdles and doing Side Hurdler cheerleading jumps.

The Herkie is performed by lifting your bent leg, so that your knee is pointing down toward the floor. It requires slightly less hip flexibility, so it’s usually considered lower on the difficulty scale than a Side Hurdler jump. You’ll still need plenty of power, height and good technique to pull it off!

So now that you know the difference, work hard to perfect them both so that your cheer jumps are clearly defined and powerful. You’re ready for lift off!


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