The New England Patriots cheerleaders work hard to stay in shape. Try some of the partner workouts the women incorporate into their weekly training regimen.

By Kalyn Kahler
January 19, 2018

For the New England Patriots cheerleaders, a warm weather practice day in Foxborough means just one thing: stairs.

“Oh, do we ever do stairs,” says Michaela Main, a rookie on the team this season. At the instruction of their trainer, Andy Berler, the team sprints and lunges up and down the steep stairs. Though the workouts are strenuous, something about being inside the stadium and looking down on the field is enough motivation to push through. And since the Patriots' schedule typically extends past the regular season—New England faces the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC championship game this weekend—the women need a way to stay in shape all year long. 

Berler is the creator of the fitness program BMAX, a high intensity interval training workout that targets the six primary muscle groups: chest, triceps, back, biceps, shoulders, and legs. The program is machine-free, uses a variety of different exercises to keep things interesting, and even incorporates some creative partner exercises, which double as team bonding for New England’s cheerleaders.

“The partner workouts are great because we are always here and working out together, but it’s great to actually have someone that you can turn around and whisper to and say, ‘We are going to get through this,’” says Kim Gordon, another New England rookie. “We are always cheering each other on.”

Many of the women on the team balance demanding careers with their role as a Patriots cheerleaders, and BMAX’s efficient design helps them to get the most out of each workout in their busy schedule. Gordon is an attorney in the public corrections and special prosecutions unit for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, Main is a physical therapist and fellow rookie Emerald Peoples is a first lieutenant at Hanscom Air Force Base.

SI Edge asked these three New England rookie cheerleaders to break down their favorite partner exercises. Grab a friend and try these out:

Back-to-back wall sits

Taylor Ballantyne

Partners stand back to back, bend knees and lower down slowly in unison until both are in the wall sit position with feet flat on the floor and thighs parallel to the ground. Hold the position for as long as possible.

“This has almost always turned into a competition,” Main says. “This is the hardest partnering exercise that we do because you are completely reliant on your partner. It’s a great team building activity. You’re holding your body weight up, and also balancing your partner’s body weight, so about thirty seconds in, your legs start uncontrollably shaking.”

Plank-jump combo

Taylor Ballantyne
One partner holds a plank position, with shoulder over wrists and pelvis tucked so the body is in a long line. The other partner broad jumps over the planking partner, turns around and broad jumps back over. Repeat for two minutes and then switch.

“We did this exercise every day when we were on the beach in Aruba on the calendar shoot trip,” Gordon says. “It was hard being on the sand and in the sun, but again, those partner workouts when you have that other person who is doing the same routine as you are, it makes it so much easier.”

Squat-plank combo

Taylor Ballantyne

One partner holds a squat position and the other partner planks with one leg resting on each of the squatting partner’s thighs. Hold for two minutes and switch. Looking for more of a challenge? Substitute push-ups for planking.

“I really like doing push-ups, that’s just the military in me,” says Peoples, the air force lieutenant. “I like to make it a race, so I try to do as many push-ups as possible in the time.”

What’s in the fridge?

Taylor Ballantyne

The Patriots cheerleaders don’t have one uniform diet plan. Instead, they each work with a nutritionist to design personalized plans that fit their individual needs and lifestyle. Here’s what Gordon and Main keep stocked in their fridge:

Gordon: “My favorite meal would probably have to be a sweet potato shake. It’s baked sweet potato, almond milk, and some seasoning and you blend it all together. I am also big on small snacking throughout the day, like peanut butter and fruit.”

Main: “If I’m on the go, I like making a sandwich, with organic bread with no additives in it and then any type of almond butter with blueberries. It’ my healthy version of a PBJ, it gives you all the right energy, a little bit of protein and long-lasting carbohydrates and quick bursting energy from the fruit.”

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