How to get started with dance workouts: A complete beginner’s guide

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By JeffreyThurber

How to get started with dance workouts: A complete beginner’s guide

No matter what dance style you choose, whether it’s African dance, TikTok, Latin fusion or another, you will get a great aerobic workout. Most tend to be full-body. You can also choose the one that is right for you based on your age, ability, or fitness level.

Are you ready for a dance party? This is everything you need about making dance a workout.

What kind of dance workout should I start with?

It can feel overwhelming to have so many dance workouts.

Judson McDonald, a Durham, North Carolina-based personal and group trainer who is also a Les Mills International learning and development specialist, suggests that you simply go for the dance workouts that appeal most to you.

Are you attracted to hip-hop classes Latin-inspired dance styles, such as Zumba, are you interested in? Variations of ballet, such as barre? MacDonald states that there are many styles of ballet. “Some workouts even offer a variety of dance styles to help you try new things and get a taste for everything.”

You should look for dance exercises that you enjoy. It is a great way to find dance workouts that resonate with you. MacDonald says, “I love housemusic, so I’m naturally drawn towards classes that have a focus on house music.”

What to Wear for Dance Workouts

There aren’t any rules as to what you should wear to dance class. MacDonald said, “What’s wonderful about dance is that you can feel confident and let your imagination run wild.”

Bottoms Choose what you are comfortable wearing, such as leggings, basketball shorts or an embellished sleeve. MacDonald recommends dark-colored, moisture-wicking bottoms for classes with high intensity. He states that sweat from up top can build up at your pants legs. And let’s be honest, gray cotton won’t last long.

Tops – Again, select a top that suits you. MacDonald prefers looser shirts, with more flow. However, any cut in a moisture wicking fabric will work well for him. MacDonald suggests that you don’t have to be afraid of going bold with color. If you have breasts, a supportive bra sports bra will be very important.

Shoes Most dance fitness classes require shoes. MacDonald suggests that you look for shoes with great support and a smooth sole. You can check with the studio or gym before you arrive for class if you aren’t sure if you’ll need shoes.

Hair accessories: Tie your hair back if your hair is sufficiently long to be visible during class. MacDonald recommends a variety of hair accessories to prevent sweat from getting in your eyes.

Safety and Injury-Prevention Tips For Beginners

If you’re not careful, dancing can be dangerous as with any other type of exercise. Follow these expert tips to keep safe:

Get checked out by your healthcare provider. Take a look at your medical history before you start dancing classes. Samantha Amway, an orthopedic clinical specialist and physical therapy in sports medicine at The Ohio State University Wexner Med Center in Lewis Center (Ohio), says that you should check with your healthcare provider. If you have had musculoskeletal problems in the past it is a good idea for you to see a physical therapist.

Stay hydrated. Don’t let dehydration spoil your fun. Kelly Jones, RD, a Philadelphia-based board-certified specialist for sports dietetics, advises that you drink 16 to 20 ounces extra water approximately two hours before starting dancing. After your workout, take three to four gulps water every 15 to twenty minutes.

Use the jump only when necessary Do not hesitate to modify jumping movements for people with joint pain, urinary incontinence, or other health issues. Megan Roup is a former professional dancer who is also an ACE-certified personal training specialist. She founded The Sculpt Society, a dance cardio program. Instead of doing jump jacks you can just step out to the side.

Stand on your toes. The calves and shins can be injured by landing on your toes. Roup advises that dancers should roll through their entire foot. Also, it is important to bend your knees when landing, rather than locking your knees. Roup says that this, along with supportive shoes, can help to prevent calf pain and shin blisters.

How to get ready for a dance workout

To prepare your body for what’s ahead, many dance workout classes include a warm up. A review found that dance injuries are often caused by lack of a warm up routine.

MacDonald recommends that you warm up by warming up alone with 2 to 3 minutes light jogging, or other gentle cardio to increase your heart rate. You can follow that up with dynamic stretches, which are active movements that stretch muscles throughout their full range. These stretches target the muscles you’ll use during your workout.

These are some moves you can try:

Hip rolls (8-10 per direction)

The chest isolations are done by pushing the chest forward and backwards, and then releasing the shoulder blades (eight to ten in each direction).

Do body rolls. Brace your core, tuck you chin, and then squat through your legs. Then, roll up one vertebra at time (8 to 10 repetitions).

You can do light jumps or side steps and touch the floor (up to 10 reps per side).

Get Started with Dance Training in 4 Weeks

Molly Breen from Straightline Dance Fitness, Minneapolis, suggests that you try a few classes a week to get into the habit of dancing if your fitness has been lacking. Find shorter, more manageable dance workouts you can do online and in person.

MacDonald states, “Your mind may be ready for dance harder than you joint stability is.” Do not rush to master every move your instructor gives you.

Your dance routine will get longer as you gain strength and fitness. You might also consider adding a few dance workouts to your week. Allow yourself to take a day off from your dance training to give your body time to recover. MacDonald recommends this four-week training course.

Week 1

Day 1 Dance exercise, 20 minutes

Day 2: Rest or activity for recovery (like yoga or flexibility exercises or a simple walk)

Day 3 Strengthening, 30 to 45 Minutes; Walk, 30 Minutes

Day 4 Rest, walk or take a break for 20 to 30 minutes

Day 5 Dance class, 20 minutes, or relaxation

Day 6 Strengthening, 30 to 40 minutes; walking, 30 mins

Day 7: Rest or walk for 20-30 minutes

Week 2

Day 1 Dance exercise, 20-30 minutes

Day 2: Rest or recovery activity

Day 3 Strength exercise, 30 to 40 minutes; walk 30 minutes

Day 4 Rest, walk or take a break for 20-30 minutes

Day 5 Dance class, 20-30 minutes, or relaxation

Day 6 Strengthening, 30 to 40 minutes; walking, 30 min

Day 7: Rest or walk for 20-30 minutes

Week 3

Day 1 Dance exercise, 30 minutes

Day 2 Strengthen training, 30 to 45 mins; walk, 30 mins

Day 3 Dance class, 30 minutes

Day 4 Strengthening, 30 to 45 Minutes; Walk, 30 Minutes

Day 5 Dance exercise, 30 minutes, or rest and recovery

Day 6: Rest or walk for 20 to 30 minutes

Day 7 Recovery or rest

Week 4

Day 1 Dance exercise, 30-40 minutes

Day 2 Strengthening, 30 to 45 Minutes; Walk, 20 to 30 Minutes

Day 3 Dance class, 30-40 minutes

Day 4 Strengthening, 30 to 45 Minutes; Walk, 20 to 30 Minutes

Day 5 Dance exercise, 30 to 40 mins, or rest and recovery

Day 6: Rest or activity for recovery

Day 7 Recovery or rest

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