Updated: Jun 22
© Copyright 2021 Artwork by Cordi Neckermann
Having strong core muscles is great but getting there can feel like a chore. Sit ups, crunches, planks are great ways to achieve a strong core. All of these need repetitions and lots and lots of motivation. What if I tell you that working your core can be much more fun than just counting repetitions or listening to your Instructor describe that perfect beach body while sweating in plank pose?
Yes, you can dance your core muscles into shape. Dance Fitness might not seem like a core workout at first sight but it packs quite a punch and the best part is it doesn’t feel like chore. When your mind is in dance mode the body parties along happily.
How to work those core muscles in a dance fitness class
First of all lets get clear on what those mysterious core muscles actually are. They are not just your abdominal muscles but a whole bunch of muscles in your abdomen that are attached to your arms, legs and spine. They all have fancy names and you most likely learned them all in biology class but you don’t need to remember those for working them. What you do need to know is where about they are and how you need to move to work them in a safe and effective way.
It is also helpful to know that our muscles don’t work in isolation or taking turns one at a time. They all work together creating a movement. Every single muscle movement has an effect on the rest of the muscles in the body no matter if they are close together or far away from each other.
Posture, Posture, Posture
When you follow along and copy the dance moves of the instructor in a dance fitness class you keep your body in an alert and ready to go position so you can change directions fast. This is already a workout for some of our core muscles just by maintaining an upright posture and moving swiftly from one direction into the other. There are not just the big muscles at work here but also lots of little stabiliser muscles that keep you from loosing your balance when you dance.
Not the watch but your hips :-) This one is a little misleading because it is not really the hips that you want to move to work your hip flexor muscles. it is actually your knees. Any movement that involves picking up your knees high will work your hip flexor muscles. These muscles are attached to your spine, hips and thighs. They are basically helping you to lift your leg. You don’t have to find a French Can Can dance fitness class (although that would be fun) to get your knees working. In a Bollywood or Bhangra dance fitness class you will find yourself happily lifting your knees to the beat.
Shimmy those hips
Moving our hips in either isolation like Belly dance or together with the rest of the body is core strength gold. It is not just your abdominal muscles that get involved in hip movement but all the muscles connected to hips, spine and ribs.
Back, front or sides all the muscles around your trunk get to come out an play. This doesn’t only strengthen the core muscles but also moves a part of your body that doesn’t usually get much movement unless you walk around in a catwalk model mode all day. More movement means more synovial fluid, which is the body's own lubricant for the joints. A well oiled engines runs effortlessly and smooth. That also goes for our bodies.
Reach for the stars
Yes, some of the muscles responsible for arm movement are also considered core muscles. The Trapezius and the Rhomboids to be exact. These muscles are attached to your spine, base of skull, shoulder blade and clavicle. To work these puppies you get to wave your arms in the air like you must don’t care in your dance fitness class. And let’s be honest that is half the fun.
There is also an extra bonus for intense arm movement. If you keep your arms over your shoulder line you bring up your heart rate which comes in handy in a dance fitness class if jumping is not your thing. Reaching and moving your arms around also requires the muscles around your spine to work hard to keep you balanced.
You see, the whole body gets a workout when you dance. Working your core doesn’t have to feel like a chore anymore. You can get the toned and strong body you always wanted. Let nothing stop you from reaching your fitness goal. Be unstoppable!
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