How To Learn The Zumba Dance Moves

As you know from previous posts, I was looking for a fitness program that I could do at home that was fun and worked.  That’s when I found Zumba Fitness Total Body Transformation System.  I love that sort of dancing but at Zumba classes I found it a little discouraging as I couldn’t keep up as the sessions were so large and so quick (even the so-called beginner classes), so I couldn’t learn the dance steps properly.  But the dance instructors break down all the components slowly and show you ALL the dance moves, so that you can learn at your own pace.  It comes on four DVDs that claim to be “an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party™ that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health,” and this is exactly what I found it to be.

The Benefits of Zumba

  • Lose weight
  • Tone muscles
  • Red hot music and
  • Heaps of fun dancing!

Here’s a brief example of how clearly the dance steps are demonstrated for beginners and how easy it is to pick them up – just replay any moves you have trouble with:

The Program

The basic workout breaks down each move using a 3-step process that works up to the full dance move, and are broken down into easy, medium and hard so they are easy to learn.  They teach over 20 moves on this DVD and it takes about an hour to work through it, but it’s worth it because the steps are explained very clearly and are easy to follow, especially if you “feel” the music first and then work on the steps.

The main workouts are all variations of the basic moves and are related to the various latin dances – samba, meringue, reggaeton, cumbia, mambo and salsa – but it was great to find that there were more styles of dancing other than latin.  There’s an American Mix section with country dancing in it and also some African, belly dance and flamenco thrown in for even more variety.

The program comes with two toning sticks that only weigh about 1lb each, so I tried using heavier exercise weights to accelerate my workout.  However, I found that the fast pace and dancing nature of the workout, made the heavier hand weights difficult to handle so I stopped using them.

The Workouts

I’m fairly fit because I train horses but the instructional workout had me in a sweat within minutes!  The other DVDs are more like live Zumba classes, where there is no instruction and everyone is just dancing more like freestyle.  But it’s easy to pick up what they’re doing.  The main instructor, Beto, is hard to understand at times because he has a very strong accent, but I got sorta used to it after a while, and the girls are easy to understand and follow. Your waist will feel tight after just one work out- the abs section is amazing – and you will probably burn 500-1000 calories per hour.  There are a variety of lengths to the videos so you can pick one that fits your time frame for the day.

Sometimes it seems like you’ve got lost and are on the wrong foot, but it seems to be only an editing glitch and if you just keep in step with the beat of the music, you’ll soon be back in unison with the DVD.

What To Wear

I would suggest that you wear as few clothes as possible, as you quickly break out in a sweat, and make sure they are comfortable and easy to move in. Also, I recommend that you wear hip-hop shoes such as the these to give your feet and ankles as much support as possible.

Excuses? -  “I’m Too Old” – “I Can’t Dance”

NO WAY!  I’m 57 – okay, I don’t look as good as the instructor and I don’t move as fast as the 20-year-olds, but I love it!  I manage to keep up most of the time, and even though I’m somewhat rhythmically challenged, I’ve managed to learn all the dance moves.  With practice, your reflexes improve and one day you find yourself feeling like it’s second nature to dance!

 

 


Tips For Your Home Zumba Workout

Preparing For Your Workout

First and possibly most importantly, make sure you have plenty of WATER on hand.  You will need it!  You can supposedly burn between 500-1000 calories per hour, so you WILL sweat!

Secondly, make sure you have enough room in front of your TV and the floor is solid enough so that things don’t fall off shelves as you jump and move your body around.

What To Wear

Good shoes are a must. As you’ll be doing a lot of twisting and jumping on them.  The last thing you want is to twist an ankle or get sore shins because you’re footwear isn’t supporting you.  You’ll find some shoe recommendations here.

Wear as few clothes as possible!  Get ready to sweat and work your butt off!  There are some pretty funky aerobic clothes ideas here.

About Your Workout

Your first or basic workout should break down all the Zumba dance moves in a step-by-step process that works up to the full dance move.  These instructions should be easy to follow so there is no confusion as to what you are supposed to be doing.  When you have conquered these easy/beginner workouts, feel free to move onto the intermediate and then advanced workouts.  By then, you’ll be a Zumba pro and as fit as a fiddle!

The Music

If you are a lover of latin music, you will appreciate the hypnotizing beats that you will be dancing to.  The mainstay dance routines are generally Samba, Merengue, Reggaeton, Cumbia, Mambo and Salsa.  Other fascinating dance rhythms are African, Flamenco and even bellydance music!

Benefits of a Zumba Workout

Firstly, the more effort and energy you put into your workout, the more your body will burn calories so you’ll lose weight, dress size and have a toned body.

Secondly, energetic workouts dissipate stress from your body so you will be more relaxed both physically and emotionally.  We all need less stress in our life, and learning the Zumba dance moves and incorporating them into a vibrant dance routine is a fantastic way of getting rid of day-to-day stress.

For those of us who are rhythmically challenged, a Zumba workout is the dance class you take when you’re not taking a dance class!  You WILL learn to dance!

Last but definitely not least, Zumba is not called a Dance Party for nothing.  Latin dance music is made for dancing, and if you don’t have a smile on your face at the end of your workout, I’d wonder if you even have a heart beat!


Why Zumba?

Zumba is a dance/fitness craze that has become popular everywhere – classes are springing up in gyms, clubs and community centers, from the largest of cities to tiny towns.  People of all ages find the dance music hypnotic and stimulating, and a great way to get rid of stress and get fit at the same time. Everyone is hooked on the Zumba dance moves!

But the music has a very quick tempo and the dance steps change so fast that it’s hard for beginners to keep up. What you need is to be shown how to do the individual steps first and then progress to blending them together into a vibrant, flowing routine.

I’m an older woman (in my fifties) and I have so much fun doing a Zumba workout.  Initially I was just curious as I wanted to tone up my body and lose some stubborn flab. Because I also love dancing and latin music, it seemed like the perfect combination.  And it is!  Obviously I don’t have the body shape or suppleness of a twenty-year-old, but I can keep up with most of the routines and have a great time to boot.

I encourage you to start learning the Zumba dance moves today and see how you like it.  It’s working for me!


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