Written by Charlotte Campbell
Choosing The Best Dance Workout
If you’ve ever watched a series of Strictly Come Dancing, you’ll see the transformation in contestants from week to week. They burn fat, gain muscle and seemingly get fitter with every waltz, foxtrot and tango. If your workout routine is in a rut, dance classes can be a fun way to sashay those calories away.
To help you take the plunge, we’ve got a roundup of a number of dance types. Work out which is your ideal partner and hit the floor!
Workout focus: Abdominals and obliques
Salsa is often seen as a sexy dance type. The main moves are centred on the hips, shoulders and arms, and it is a great dance form if you often need to loosen up a little – both physically and mentally! Passion and enthusiasm are key to a great salsa, so it’s a natural calorie burner for all fitness levels. Engaging your core throughout will not only help you maintain good poise and form, it will maximise your workout potential. Salsa is classically done as a pair, but often in class people prefer to practice on their own anyway, so don’t sweat it if you’re riding solo.
Workout focus: Legs
Tap dancing is a noisy, fun dance type that is perfect for getting out your stresses of the day. You may have seen it in old musicals, and its name is derived from the “tappa tappa tappa” that the special dance shoes make as you move. Most dance schools will let you practice in non-tap shoes at first, or hire out shoes. As you advance, this can be a high cardio dance type that will leave you with legs of steel. Tap can be done solo, in a pair, or as part of a group number, and lessons are often only taught as a solo to begin.
Workout focus: Strength and flexibility
Ballet is one of the most recognised dance types in the world. From boxers to footballers, both men and women have become converts to ballet to improve their fitness and agility.
It encourages strong limbs and core, and you will certainly feel the burn after your first class. You’ll need a thorough warm up and down, as ballet is demanding on even the most flexible of dancers. And no, you don’t have to wear a tutu at your first class!
Workout focus: Plateau Smashing
Hip hop is one of the more modern dance forms, and is often present in music videos and pop performances. Much of hip hop is centred on bravado and big movements, and so it works out the whole body and is great for burning calories. Repetition is not particularly favoured in hip hop routines (or “freestyling”, where there is no set routine at all) so it is ideal if you have got into a total workout rut. You’ll shock your muscles with this high cardio workout and be blasting through your plateaus in no time.
Workout focus: Aerobics
While not technically a dance form, Zumba is very popular and easily accessible. Based on Latin American dances, Zumba is designed to provide a full body workout with the fun of a dance class. It is often a good cardio workout with fast paced routines.
Workout Focus: Posture
It may not seem the workout of body builders, but waltzing is great training for anyone who struggles to get their posture right as they lift. Standing “tall” with a straight back un-slouched shoulders is tough for an hour, and is especially beneficial for anyone who works in a desk-based job. As you advance it can also become a cardio workout, but initial lessons will be fairly slow in pace. Waltzing is a partnered dance, so grab a friend (or someone you wouldn’t mind getting up close to!) and head down to your nearest ballroom.