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Zumba Exercises

by 
author image Henry Halse
Henry Halse is a Philadelphia-based personal trainer, speaker, and writer. He's trained a wide variety of people, from couch potatoes to professional athletes, and helped them realize their own strength, determination and self-confidence. Henry has also written for various fitness and lifestyle publications, including Women’s Health, AskMen and Prevention.
Zumba Exercises
Zumba Exercises Photo Credit: inarik/iStock/GettyImages

Zumba, the popular dance-fitness workout, comes in all shapes and sizes. What originally was a Latin-influenced dance workout has become a multi-faceted fitness empire. There are Zumba workouts you can do in the pool or on land, with weights or other equipment like a step box.

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Traditional Zumba dance workouts help you burn calories and get in better shape aerobically. However, they lack in certain areas like muscle building and strengthening. That's why different styles of Zumba, like Aqua Zumba and Zumba Toning were created to give you an array of different exercises.

Read More: Basic Zumba Moves

Traditional Zumba

The classic form of Zumba has dance exercises that come from countries all over the world. Originally, the dance routines stem from Latin culture. Salsa, merengue and cumbia are three of the major forms of dance that you'll find in Zumba.

Exercises in Zumba dance routines are based off simple steps from major dance styles with old-school fitness exercises, like jumping jacks, mixed in. The dances styles that Zumba uses, like salsa and merengue, are powered mostly by your legs.

Zumba adds a little upper-body flair to the exercises by adding upper body movements like overhead reaches with your arms.

Zumba Strong

Although Zumba is famous for fast-moving dance routines, this style is focused on fitness. Body-weight strength movements trump the classic dance moves for which Zumba is famous. The music, however, is still upbeat and pleasurable.

You'll find cardio kickboxing steps and plyometrics like squat jumps in the cardio-intensive section of this workout. Traditional body-weight exercises, such as jumping jacks and lunges, also make an appearance.

The final section of the workout is dedicated to core exercises, like planks and crunches. By the end, you'll work every major muscle group in your body without busting out any dance moves.

Aqua Zumba

Standing in the shallow end of a pool with your shoulders and head out of the water, the dynamic of Zumba changes slightly. The exercises you do in Aqua Zumba are very similar to the traditional Zumba dance routines, but they take advantage of the resistance of water.

The essence of Zumba dance is in the hips. Hip gyrations accentuate the dance moves you do during the routines. When you do the same hip movements in the water you force your hip muscles to work overtime to allow you to move through the water.

Likewise, your legs face resistance from the water. That's why Aqua Zumba adds in kicks to the front and side, as well as knee raises. That helps work your leg and hip muscles further.

Zumba Strong and Zumba Toning work your upper body muscles with resistance exercises.
Zumba Strong and Zumba Toning work your upper body muscles with resistance exercises. Photo Credit: JackF/iStock/GettyImages

Zumba Step

Step aerobics and Zumba are two of the most popular styles of group exercise. Zumba cleverly merged both worlds into one workout. This adds a whole new dimension of exercises to the Zumba repertoire. In a Zumba step workout you do a similar dance routine to the normal Zumba class, except you step up onto the platform for an added leg workout.

Read More: How Many Calories Does Zumba Burn?

Zumba Toning

For toning workouts, you use 1- or 2 1/2-pound dumbbells. Unlike a typical Zumba workout, which emphasizes your lower body, this workout focuses on your upper body. You'll do upper body exercises like shoulder presses, triceps extensions and biceps curls.

Traditional upper body exercises are incorporated into these dance workouts to give you a better arm workout. At the same time, you'll go through a dance routine that incorporates arm movements, so that your upper body never really takes a break.

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