Whether you want to do Latin dancing, ballet, contemporary dance, ballroom dancing, by choosing to dance, you’ve made the right decision for your figure.
Learning to dance is arguably one of the best ways to sculpt your body and tone muscle. Every style of dance has benefits for your body but some work on certain areas more than others.
If you want to get into dancing to tone muscles, all you need to do is a bit of ballet, salsa, contemporary dance, Zumba, or even flamenco. There are plenty of ways to find a dance teacher or private tutor and do dance workouts.
In this article, Superprof is looking at the muscle groups that you’ll work on when you dance and which types of dancing are best for getting the most of your workout.
The Effects of Dancing on Your Upper Body
As you’ll have probably guests, it’s not bachata or the rumba that’ll tone your upper body. Most styles of dancing tend to work on your legs. Almost every dance routine will feel like a total body workout and make you break a sweat.
Generally speaking, dancing doesn’t often work on your upper body but it does tend to work on your back and stomach. Your abs allow you to turn your torso which is useful in most types of dancing.
Your abs include several different muscles:
- Rectus abdominis
- External oblique
- Internal oblique
- Transversus abdominis
As you hold each position, you work these different muscles. This is why it’s not unusual to see a dancer with a six-pack. Your shoulders and arms aren’t often used in a lot of styles. However, there are styles like breakdancing and hip-hop that make use of your arms quite a bit and will be able to help you build and tone muscle. It all depends on how long you’re dancing and how intensive the dancing is. If you don’t feel anything in your back or stomach, it might mean that you could give a little bit more. Practise makes perfect, after all.
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The Effects of Dancing on Your Lower Body
As you’ll probably know, your lower body plays a huge role when you dance and your bum, thighs, and calves will get a good workout.
Each step uses almost every muscle in your body but it’s definitely your legs that do the most of the work. Make sure that you warm up as it’s very easy to injure yourself if you’re not properly prepared.
Your bum is the first part of your body that will tone when you start dancing. The technical term for these are the gluteal muscles and these are the largest and most powerful muscles in your body. They help move the trunk of the body and your thighs.
Of course, dancing also works on your quadriceps, the muscles on the front of your thighs. These muscles allow you to move your thighs and hips and extend your leg. This is where you’ll usually be aching after a good session of cardio.
Then there are your hamstrings, the muscles on the back of your thighs. These muscles are used to bend your leg at the knee.
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Finally, dancing tones your calves, the lower part of your legs. These help you to move your feet and are essential in almost every dance.
Every step works towards toning your muscles, making you more stable and balanced, making your movements quicker and more powerful, and improving your endurance. You just need to find the right teacher to teach you how to do them perfectly and then you can start to burn fat!
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Toning Muscles According to the Style of Dance
Different styles use different muscles differently. You won’t use the same muscles in tap dancing as you would in Bollywood dancing.
To tone your upper body (stomach, abs, and back), you probably want to go for hip-hop, breakdancing, or Oriental dance. If you prefer the classics, you should consider doing ballet which will give you a back of steel, a flat stomach, and tone your lower body.
To really tone and sculpt your legs and bum, we recommend doing rock dancing, which requires a lot of energy and will help you lose weight. You can also do zouk to slim your waist and bum. You’ll also firm up your thighs.
Finally, some styles, like tango, are great for burning calories and working on your lower and upper body at the same time. Capoeira is also an original and interesting style of dance.
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to the different types of dancing.
Choosing the Right Diet
Unfortunately, dancing on its own isn’t enough! While it’s great to dance along to some tunes, you’ll have to eat right if you want to get all the benefits of a dance workout and get fit.
In addition to dancing regularly, you’ll need to eat right. While you can burn calories during any cardio workout, your dance fitness class will be a waste of time if you undo all your hard work immediately after your dance or gym session.
You want to avoid too much fat, sugar, and salt. Fruits and vegetables, as well as white meat, are advised as they’re a good foundation for every meal.
To get the most out of your training as a dancer, you can also put together a workout regime that’ll tone your body and improve your skills as a dancer. You should combine these with your basic dance training. Here are some exercises you can do alongside dancing:
- Anaerobic exercise (high intensity, short duration)
- Aerobic exercise (moderate intensity, long duration)
- Strength exercise (maximum intensity, slow movement)
- Flexibility exercise
- Strength and muscle building (high intensity, fast movement)
- Agility and balance exercise
The goal is to make yourself strong and fast. There are also exercises like yoga and pilates that can help. Put simply you need to find a programme that works for you and follow the music.
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Whether it’s tango, Cuban salsa, rock, Kizomba, Oriental dance, or modern dance, you can choose the style that works with the parts of your body you want to work on.
If you’re ready to go, you should check out some of the tutors on Superprof. Many of them even offer free tutoring for the first hour! Whether you're a beginner or an expert, a dance or fitness instructor can help you with a full body workout, through dancing or high-intensity interval training (HIIT), choreography and new dance moves, ways to improve your endurance, and a general fitness workout to help you improve your body weight.
You can learn with an instructor in a group fitness dance class in a dance studio with the music blasting or do relaxed home workouts. It's up to you and how you like to work and what your fitness goals are.
When it comes to sculpting your body and fat burning, workout videos probably won't cut it. Everyone is different and while 10-minute high energy workout on YouTube might be good for getting started, it's better to have a programme that's choreographed with you in mind, that makes you want to jump onto the dance floor, and make you work hard to burn every single calorie!
If you're interested in toning your body or losing weight thanks to dancing, you should consider getting help from a private tutor on Superprof. There are three main types of tutorial on offer for almost every style of dancing around: private one on one tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials.
Private tutorials are the most cost-effective but also the most expensive. This is because you're the only student in the class so you'll get a bespoke service and lessons that are tailored to your needs and goals. These will take place either at your home, the tutor's home, or a public place such as a park or gym.
Online private tutorials are similar but they are taught remotely using a webcam and a service like Skype. These tend to be cheaper since the tutor doesn't have to factor travel costs into their rates.
Finally, group tutorials are more like your traditional dance class. These are cheaper for the student as the cost of the lesson is shared between all the attendees.
So are you ready to go?
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