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Cardio dance classes call for a wide range of dynamic movements. “Especially in Zumba, you can expect to move your hips a lot as you swivel, thrust, and twist during rhythms like salsa, merengue, and reggaetón,” says Alayna Curry, a licensed Zumba instructor and NASM-certified women’s fitness specialist.

More On the Moves

Tightness in the hips and groin can make dance movements difficult or uncomfortable. To help reduce your risk of a muscle strain or injury, Curry recommends doing mobility exercises that help open the hips, such as the butterfly variation below.

The goblet squat will strengthening the core and leg muscles and can help you per­form dance movements longer. Plus, it shores up the muscles surrounding your hip, knee, and ankle joints, improv­ing their stability, she notes. “This is especially important when you’re dancing and doing a lot of jumping, shuffling, and quick move­ments from side to side and forward and back.”

Incorporate these moves recommended by Curry to help level up your dance performance.

Mobility

Butterfly Stretch
Add this stretch to your dance class warm-up and cool-down.

butterfly stretch

Full Instructions
  • Sit or lie on the ground and place the soles of your feet together. Adjust how close your feet are to your body to find the appropriate intensity of stretch. (Move the heels in toward the body for a more intense stretch; move them away from the body to reduce the stretch.)
  • Allow your knees to gently drop toward the floor. Don’t force them to drop; let gravity do the work.
  • If you’re seated, keep your posture tall by reaching the crown of your head toward the ceiling. If you’re lying down, lightly engage your core to keep a neutral spine and avoid arching your back. Hold for 30 to 60 seconds.

Strength

Goblet Squat
Perform this exercise up to three
days per week.

illio goblet squat

Full Instructions
  • Stand with your feet hip width apart, toes pointed slightly out, and hold a kettlebell or dumbbell at chest height with both hands, palms facing in.
  • Push your butt back and bend your knees to squat down as far as you comfortably can. Keep your chest up; shoulders down and away from your ears; and knees in line with your toes.
  • Distribute your weight evenly within and across both feet as you push up to return to the starting position. Do three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions.

Level Up

From basketball to walking, discover the mobility and strength exercises that can enhance your favorite cardio workout and boost your overall performance. Learn more in “Level Up Your Favorite Cardio With These Strength and Mobility Moves,” from which this article was excerpted.

Lauren
Lauren Bedosky

Lauren Bedosky is a Twin Cities–based health-and-fitness writer.

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