Dance the Weight Off
Tired of the treadmill? Tone up with a dancing workout that'll target key trouble spots like your abs and thighs--all while burning anywhere from 300 to 400 calories per hour (or more, depending on the tempo). The best part: While classes are available at many gyms and dance studios, you can get your groove on with a home workout right in your own living room.
To get you started, we asked Jaana Kunitz, celebrity trainer, former North American Showdance Champion and co-creator of the Core Rhythms exercise program, to break down her five top dances. So pull up your iTunes, throw on some spandex and get ready for a dance workout that'll put your old aerobics routine to shame.
Dance #1: Salsa
Named for the Spanish word for sauce, this fast, spicy dance style is known for being both sultry and playful. Tip: Wear a skirt to accentuate the back-and-forth hip movements-it'll help you keep rhythm so you get the most out of this core workout.
What it works: obliques
What to wear: Dancing heels or flats, dance skirt, fitted tank
1.) Stand facing forward with your feet together, holding your arms just above waist level.
2.) Keeping your knees loose, rock your weight to the ball of your left foot.
3.) Return left foot to center, then do the same with your right foot and keep repeating.
Dance #2: Hip Hop
Now's your chance to test your skills--and get a killer dancing workout while you're at it. This urban dance style is all about bold, powerful muscle movements that tone all over, making it a worthwhile addition to your home workout routine.
What it works: glutes
What to wear: Tennis or aerobic sneakers, loose pants, fitted tank or sports bra, open hoodie.
1.) Stand with your hip-width apart, facing forward.
2.) Move your right foot out to the side until you're in a squatting position. As your knees bend, lift your arms up in front of your chest.
3.) Pop up out of squatting position, placing most of your weight on your right foot. Move your arms from your chest down to your waist as though you were doing a tricep pull-down.
4.) Repeat for left foot and continue back and forth.
Dance #3: Samba
Slower than the salsa, this Brazilian dance is all about the hip motion--making it an effective core workout. More good news: It also involves moving your arms to the side and above your head, giving it twice the toning power.
What it works: abs
What to wear: Dancing heels or flats, leggings, dance skirt, fitted tank
1.) Stand with your feet facing forward and your arms out to your sides or loosely above your head.
2.) Step to the side with your right foot while tilting your pelvis under (like a slight stomach crunch).
3.) Drag your left foot toward your right and move your right foot out again, repeating four times (think of it this way: right, right, right, right-then left, left, left, left).
Dance #4: Swing
Take your home workout up a notch with this fast-paced, upbeat dance style that'll have you doing the jive and jitterbug in no time. The focus here is on quick, controlled foot movements full of bounce, which will have you feeling the burn in no time.
What it works: hamstrings
What to wear: Tennis or aerobic sneakers, tights, short skirt, fitted top
1.) Stand facing forward with your weight shifted onto your right foot and your right hip out.
2.) In one motion, toss all of your weight onto the ball of your left foot.
3.) Rock your left hip out, moving your arms at your sides in synch with your feet.
4.) Repeat for eight counts (one step on each count).
Dance #5: Paso Doble
Paso Doble, which literally translates to "two-step," is a Spanish-style dance modeled after a bullfight (the woman in the dance represents the bullfighter's cape). This dancing workout is marked by sharp, quick movements and should be done with your chin up and chest out.
What it works: legs
What to wear: Dancing heels or flats, full skirt, fitted tank
1.) Stand tall and lunge forward with your left foot, twisting your torso to the left.
2.) Holding the sides of your skirt with your hands, twist your torso to the right, moving your arms with you.
3.) Bring your left leg back in a reverse lunge position so it's behind you, twisting your torso to the left, and then tap your left foot.
4.) Repeat with right leg.