If you find your toes tapping under your desk at work or your kids shrieking with embarrassment when you bust out the moves in the car, chances are you love a good dance break.
So, why not turn those grooves into your new favorite workout? Here are six dance-inspired workouts that will cure your boogie fever and make you fall in love with exercise all over again.
Barre studios seem to be popping up on every corner and boutique fitness spaces are adding barre-style classes to their timetable. So, what’s the hype?
Barre method was created by former ballerina Lotte Berk in the 1950s. The London-based dancer created her program as a form of rehabilitation after a back injury, so the workout is low-impact and perfect for any skill level.
In barre classes, it’s all about the shakes. You know – the uncontrollable shakes that happen in your body when you’re getting a really good workout. Barre targets not only your large muscle groups, but the small ones too, as they’re often are overlooked.
When you pop into a barre studio, you won’t be expected to move like a pro dancer, leaping across the floor and pirouetting en pointe. Instead, you’ll be incorporating ballet-style moves in a sort of Pilates, yoga-esque format.
Key Move – Plies
Plie (plee-ay) is a Ballet term meaning “to bend”. You can think of them as squats with your chest lifted, feet turned out, and hips lowering straight down. Barre classes incorporate plies small pulses, large flushed out movements, or with the heels lifted for even more burn.
Sometimes, the treadmill gets old. Plus, your fitness thrives when you switch up your workouts. If you’re the person who can’t help but get up and dance when the latest jams come on the radio, you need to find a dance cardio class near you – stat!
Again, you don’t have to be a dancer to enjoy breaking it down and breaking a sweat in one of these high intensity group workouts. Even those with two left feet can join in the fun. Instructors give you the moves and the upbeat music takes care of the rest.
Every dance cardio class is going to be different since it’s not as streamlined as some other methods on this list can be. But you can expect a booty-shaking full body workout and more sweat that you might expect.
Key Move – Grapevine
It’s called a grapevine because if you traced your steps, the results would look like one. It’s three steps that take you from right to left and back again. You’ll step side, back, side, together and repeat going the other way. You’ll usually do at least one set of grapevines in a dance cardio class, whether as a warm up or cool down.
Zumba is similar to dance cardio but with Latin flair. Classic south American dance styles like merengue, salsa, reggaeton, cumbia, and samba are all transformed into a fabulous cardio workout.
When you take a Zumba class, you might as well be at a fiesta because the energy is high, the moves are spicy, and you’ll definitely break a sweat. It’s a full body experience using both low intensity and high intensity tactics but it’s such a good time that you won’t even realize you’re working out.
There are a wide variety of Zumba classes and it could take bit of trial and error before you find your perfect style.
So, leave your inhibitions at the door, get inspired by the flavor of South America, and try Zumba for a dance-packed class.
Key Move – Basic Salsa Step
Stepping out to the right, you’ll transfer your weight and move your hips. The weight then comes back to your left foot as you step together with your right. Repeat it on the other side in time with the music. Let your arms groove naturally.
Pilates is beloved by professional dancers all over the world. Its therapeutic benefits perfectly compliment a dancer’s body and it’s a popular fitness style for any body type.
As another low-impact workout option, Pilates is key to rehabilitation while toning and shaping your body in a way that makes you stronger and leaner.
Everything comes from your core in Pilates and those who practice this method are strong in their trunk. After all, it’s the source of all our power so it’s probably the most important place to focus.
With Pilates, like barre methods, you’re targeting those smaller muscle groups and changing your body on a deeper level than some other workouts.
Key Move – Reclined Tabletop
Lie on your back while activating your pelvic floor and abs, knees bent and feet flat on the floor. One at a time, lift your knees taking your feet off the floor. Your knees should be above your hips and your ankles in line with your knees creating a 90-degree angle.
From there, you can do toe taps, extensions, or simply hold the position. It’s harder than it looks!
There’s a lot more to pole dancing than meets the eye. Of course – we’re not suggesting any risky behavior, but pole fitness is an incredible workout that targets upper body strength and core control with grace and finesse.
For beginners, simply learning to walk around the pole with proper technique is a workout. It’s all about posture and fluidity, both of which are no easy feat. Wearing heels is not required but it can be a fun addition that you won’t find in any other workout.
Pole fitness classes are perfect for a one-off hen’s night but incorporating this exhilarating dance style into your weekly routine is sure to leave you with incredible results.
Key Move – Pole Sit
Pull yourself up with your hands and wrap your legs around the pole using your inner thighs to squeeze and find a sitting position. This move hurts – quite a lot, but that’s part of the stamina you need for pole fitness. As you get stronger, you’ll be able to remove your hands completely.
You could say that Nia is where mindfulness meets movement. It’s a class where you’ll experience harmony between body and soul combining martial arts, dance arts, and healing arts. It’s a unique blend that allows the body to move freely and completely contradicts the idea of “no pain, no gain.”
Nia classes take you through seven cycles – setting a focus, stepping into your “now” body, warming up, reaching the peak, cooling down, floorplay, and transitioning into your next activity for the day.
The dance that’s in your heart is what Nia classes help you find. It’s stress-relief and fun all wrapped into one. If you love to dance like no one’s watching, you’ll love Nia.
Key Move – Letting Go
Instructors will guide your movement but the key to Nia is finding your own self-expression and truly letting go. There’s no right or wrong in Nia and that’s part of its charm.
What dance inspired workout will you be trying next?
Show us your moves @lornajaneactive 💃🏽
Kaylee is a freelance arts and fitness writer based in Brisbane. She was a professional dancer for nearly a decade which took her from theme parks to cruise ships to Las Vegas. Eventually, she moved from her native Florida to Australia and now, she shares stories of transition.