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Dance Moves to Help You Lose Belly Fat

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Dance Moves to Help You Lose Belly Fat
Dance your way to a slimmer middle. Photo Credit: yuriyzhuravov/iStock/Getty Images

Getting great abs doesn't have to involve the drudgery of crunches and planks. Channel your inner dancer to lose belly fat and reveal a toned tum.

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However, losing belly fat isn't just about looking good on the dance floor — it's a matter of health. Too much belly fat, especially the deep inner fat that widens your waistband, puts you at greater risk of chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Don't fear, though. If you've got rhythm, you've got the tools to lose the extra pounds. Borrow moves from hip-hop, belly dancing and jazz to tone your muscles.

Get Your Groove on to Burn Fat

Belly fat shrinks in response to a more physically active lifestyle, and dancing is an effective way to move more -— and enjoy it. Whether you shake it in Zumba or swivel your hips in your own living room, you're burning calories, which is key to losing belly fat.

While you can't target a specific area for fat loss, your belly is one of the places that shrinks first when you get moving, explains Rush University Medical Center. Movement helps boost your daily calorie burn, so you end up with a caloric deficit and your body has to dip into fat stores to provide energy.

Dancing is a fun way to burn calories. If you weigh 155 and dance fast for 30 minutes, expect to burn 223 calories in 30 minutes, equal to a cross-country hike. Slower ballroom dance still sizzles 205 calories in 30 minutes and even a slow waltz fries 105 calories in the same amount of time — the amount you'd burn in a casual game of volleyball. People who weigh more burn a greater number of calories when dancing, too.

Read More: The Best Cardio Exercise to Lose Belly Fat

Waist-Whittling Moves

After you've danced to burn calories, perform some concentrated skills to tone your abs and further dance away your flab.

Hip Circles

This belly dancing move targets your outer ab muscles — the obliques — and your glutes. Put on some swanky tunes to get you in the mood. The jazz hip roll is a similar movement.

Belly dancers work every aspect of their core.
Belly dancers work every aspect of their core. Photo Credit: katrinaelena/iStock/Getty Images

Step 1

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart. Lift your arms slightly to the sides of your body.

Step 2

Shift your hips right and left to get them warm.

Step 3

Move into a circular motion — move your hips right, back, left and front. Repeat in the opposite direction. Keep the move going for about 90 seconds.


Keep your belly dancing mojo moving with this move that targets the front of your abs, known as the rectus abdominis. 

Step 1

Stand feet hip-distance apart. Press your chest forward as you arch your spine. Keep your shoulders retracted and your arms at your sides.

Step 2

Reverse the action by drawing your abs in, tucking your pelvis and allowing the shoulders to press forward.

Step 3

Continue to work the ripple for 60 to 90 seconds.

Hip-Hop Crunch

Switch the tunes to something with a pounding hip-hop beat to work your rectus abdominis with this standing crunch that mascarades as a cool dance move.

Step 1

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and place your hands behind your head.

Step 2

Tighten your abs to your spine as you lift your right knee up to your chest. Simultaneously crunch your upper body toward the knee. Repeat with the opposite leg.

Step 3

Find a rhythm as you alternate the sides for 1 to 2 minutes.

Reach Down

Add this move to your hip-hop routine for serious oblique work.

Step 1

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart, hands behind your head.

Step 2

Free your right arm and reach down toward your outer right knee, sidebending as you go. Avoid twisting; keep your hips squared to the front of the room.

Step 3

Repeat with the left arm. Alternate for 1 to 2 minutes.

Controlling your ab muscles while dancing is hard work.
Controlling your ab muscles while dancing is hard work. Photo Credit: katrinaelena/iStock/Getty Images

Belly Roll

This move borrows from belly dancing, but with the right beat, it fits right into your hip hop routine. Regardless, expect to need some practice to master the skill, which targets your rectus abdominis.

Step 1

Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms floating alongside you, slightly to the back.

Step 2

Breathe in to expand your ribs and pull in the lowest portion of your abs.

Step 3

Relax your breath, expand your lower belly and draw in the upper region of your abs.

Step 4

Alternate the moves to create a wavelike movement. Work your way up to 30 seconds or longer.

Read More: 12 Workouts to Improve Your Mood

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