A Beginner’s Guide to Dance Workouts

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By JeffreyThurber

A Beginner’s Guide to Dance Workouts

You can choose from African dance, TikTok dancing parties, Latin Fusion, or any other dance style. It will be an aerobic workout that is fun for the whole body. You can choose one that suits your ability and age.

What type of dance workout should you start?

It can be overwhelming to consider all the dance workouts available.

Judson MacDonald is a Durham-based personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and learning and development specialist at Les Mills International.

Do you find hip-hop classes appealing? Latin-inspired dance styles such as Zumba are available. Variations on ballet like barre? MacDonald explains that some workouts include different styles of ballet, such as barre.

Find dance routines that appeal to you. You can do this by analyzing what music you like (e.g., Latin, hip-hop or jazz, folk). MacDonald states, “I love house music so I naturally gravitate to classes with a house music emphasis.”

What to wear for dance workouts

There are no rules regarding what to wear for dance classes. MacDonald states that dance is about being confident and free to express your feelings.

There are some guidelines you should follow when choosing your dance attire.

Bottoms You can wear whatever you like, including leggings or basketball shorts. MacDonald suggests that you wear dark colors of moisture-wicking fabric, such as spandex, nylon, and polyester, for high-intensity classes. He says that sweat from the top can accumulate at your legs. “And let’s not forget, gray cotton doesn’t stay gray for very long.”

Tops Again, pick a top that fits your personal style. MacDonald prefers looser shirts that have flow to him, but any top made from a moisture-wicking fabric is a good choice. MacDonald advises that you should not be afraid to experiment with color. A supportive sports bra is essential for anyone with breasts.

Shoes Most dance fitness classes require shoes. MacDonald advises that you choose a shoe with a great sole and good support for your ankles. Before you go to class, make sure you check with your gym or studio if you are unsure if you will need shoes.

Hair accessories If you have long hair, you can tie it up to keep it from falling into your face while in class. MacDonald suggests that hats, headbands and bandanas are great options for keeping sweat from getting into your eyes.

Safety and Injury Prevention Tips for Beginners

Dance workouts, like other types of exercise can pose a risk if you aren’t careful. These expert tips will help you stay safe.

Talk to your doctor. If you are concerned about your health, you should consult your healthcare provider. Samantha Amway is a board-certified orthoclinic specialist and physical therapist for sports medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner medical center in Lewis Center, Ohio. She also recommends that you consult a physical therapist in case of musculoskeletal injury.

Stay hydrated. Don’t let dehydration spoil your fun. Kelly Jones, RD is a Philadelphia-based specialist in sports nutrition and board-certified in sports dietetics. She recommends drinking 16 to 20 ounces more water two hours before you begin dancing. Take three to four gulps every 15 to 20 minute during your workout.

You can take out the jump if necessary. If you have joint pain or urinary incontinence, don’t hesitate to modify your jumping moves. Megan Roup, a former professional dancer, ACE-certified personal coach, and founder of The Sculpt Society (a dance cardio app), says that walking out the movements can make it less impactful. Instead of doing jumping jacks, you can simply move your foot to the side.

Move your entire foot. Roup states that a lot people jump on their toes all the time. It can cause soreness, pain, and injury to the calves or shins if you land on your heels. Roup states that you should roll your entire foot while dancing. It is important to bend your knees as you land. Roup recommends that you do this and wear supportive shoes to avoid calf pains and shin splints.

How to warm up for a dance workout

A warm-up is an important part of many dance classes. It prepares your body for the next step. According to reviews, dance injuries can be caused by a lack of warm-up.

MacDonald recommends warming up by doing light jogging for 2 to 3 minutes. Next, do a few dynamic stretching (active movements that stretch the entire range of motion of your muscles) to target the muscles that you will use during your workout.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Hip rolls (8-10 in each direction)
  • You can isolate your chest by pushing it forward or backwards. This is done by pressing and releasing your shoulder blades (8-10 in each direction).
  • You can do body rolls by bracing your core and tucking your chin. Next, squat down with your legs and roll up one vertebra at the time (8-10 reps).
  • Do light jumps, or touch the ground with a side step (8-10 reps per side).

Start dancing with this 4-week dance training plan

Molly Breen, Straightline Dance Fitness’s Minneapolis dance instructor, recommends that you start with just one or two classes per week if you haven’t been exercising regularly. You should look for dance workouts that are shorter and more manageable, which you can do either online or in person.

MacDonald suggests that you should consider the possibility that your mind might be more capable of dancing than your joint stability. Don’t rush to learn every move that the instructor teaches you.

You can increase the length of your dance classes as you become stronger and more fit. You should take a day off between your dance workouts to allow your body to recuperate. MacDonald suggests this four-week training plan.

Week 1

  • Day 1: Dance class, 20 minutes
  • Day 2 Recovery activity or rest (like yoga, flexibility exercise, or a walk)
  • Day 3 Strength training, 30-45 minutes; walking, 30 minutes
  • Day 4: Rest or walk for 20-30 minutes
  • Day 5: Dance for 20 minutes or rest
  • Day 6 Strength training, 30 to 45 mins; walking, 30 minutes
  • Day 7 Walk or rest for 20-30 minutes

Week 2

  • Day 1: Dance class, 20-30 minutes
  • Day 2 Recovery or rest
  • Day 3 Strength training, 30 to 45 mins; walk, 30-minutes
  • Day 4: Rest or walk for 20-30 minutes
  • Day 5: Dance for 20-30 minutes or rest
  • Day 6 Strength training, 30 to 45 mins; walking, 30 minutes
  • Day 7 Walk or rest for 20-30 minutes

Week 3

  • Day 1: Dance class, 30 minutes
  • Day 2 Strength training, 30-45 minutes; walking, 30 minutes
  • Day 3: Dance exercise, 30 minutes
  • Day 4 Strength training, 30-45 minutes; walking, 30 minutes
  • Day 5: Dance for 30 minutes or rest or recovery
  • Day 6 Walk or rest for 20-30 minutes
  • Day 7: Rest or activity for recovery

Week 4

  • Day 1: Dance class, 30- to 40 minutes
  • Day 2 Strength training, 30-45 minutes; walking, 20-30 minutes
  • Day 3: Dance exercise, 30- to 40 minutes
  • Day 4 Strength training, 30-45 minutes; walking, 20-30 minutes
  • Day 5: Dance for 30-40 minutes or rest or recovery
  • Day 6 Recovery or rest
  • Day 7: Rest or activity for recovery

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