Zumba, Cardio & Glutes
Zumba, which is the popular Latin dance-inspired workout, provides an intense way to exercise your cardiovascular system and most of your muscle groups in a party-like atmosphere. As with any workout, you get out what you put in. You’ll not only have the chance to work out your heart and lungs, you can also strengthen and tone your body’s largest muscle — the booty.
Cardio by the Numbers
Put a group of healthy individuals through a Zumba workout and then tested their heart rates. During the workout, participants had an average heart rate that was 79 percent of the average maximum heart rate. Since the ideal heart rate during cardiovascular exercise is between about 64 to 94 percent of your maximum heart rate, the Zumba workout fell well within the acceptable range.
Beyond the Numbers
This finding shows that Zumba will help you get your heart rate up to an acceptable and effective rate for cardio exercise. You don’t have to stop and take a reading of your heart rate to determine how hard you are working. If you feel like you’re exercising hard, you probably are. Determining your “rate of perceived exertion” is one way of gauging how intensely you are working, reminds the American Council on Exercise.
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The Muscles You’ll Use
During a typical Zumba class, you’ll spend a lot of time doing side-to-side stepping and moves particular to Cumbia, Salsa, Merengue, Reggaeton and Samba dance styles, which keep your body moving at a pace that facilitates a rapid heart beat and thus provides an adequate cardio workout. However, the classes also have a strength-training element. In a typical class, you’ll spend at least a minute or two on squats and lunges. Even if those lunges are part of a fast dance routine, you may find that your butt and thighs are quite sore after the class. To make those moves even more intense, bend your knees more and “sit” into those squats. More intense “level changes” intensify the workout, reminded Zumba instructor Staci Boyer in an article in “Shape.”
More Focus on Glutes
If the standard Zumba class is leaving you wanting more in the booty department, you are not without options. If you’re comfortable talking to your instructor, ask whether she’s taken the “Zumba Glutes” training, and whether she can incorporate more glute work into her routines. Also look for “Zumba Toning,” “Zumba in the Circuit” or “Zumba Sentao” classes, which all emphasize toning more so than cardio. And since strength training should be a part of everyone’s regular routine, incorporate more glute work into the strength training you do outside of Zumba class. The leg press, squats and lunges with a set of dumbbells or a barbell are all effective strengthening exercises for the gluteal region.
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