Zumba 101

Zumba 101

By Katherine Webb

What is it?

Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness programme which aims for a high energy, party atmosphere. Choreographed steps are set mainly to Latin music, which take you through an effective full-body cardio workout. Created in Columbia in the mid 90s, it’s now one of the most popular gym workouts worldwide and almost certainly happening at a gym near you.

Who should take a circuits class?

Anyone who enjoys shaking their booty to music should give it a go. You really don’t need any ‘dance skills’ because Zumba is easy to pick up. You can be any shape, age, fitness or natural rhythm. However, because no one gets the steps first time round, it’s a good idea to try a class at least a couple of times.

What to expect

Zumba classes are typically an hour long. They start with a warm up and usually end with static stretching. The workout section uses different songs each with their own dance routine. Many moves are pre-choreographed by Zumba, but instructors sometimes create their own moves.

Expect to sweat! Zumba is loud and high-energy from start to finish. It can burn between 600 and 1000 calories per hour. Maybe take along a fitness gadget to check your progress.

Expect to feel the burn! Like many dance classes which twist and turn, Zumba concentrates on strengthening the core muscles. But legs, shoulders, biceps, triceps, quads and more are intensely worked. But don’t worry you’ll probably be having so much fun you might not notice how hard you’re working.

What to wear

Anything you feel comfortable in is fine for a Zumba class, be it baggy joggers or lycra. Layers are a good idea as crowded rooms can heat up fast. Also think about having fun and letting your hair down. Many people wear bright colourful clothes, cut-up shirts or sexy numbers. Well-worn shoes with a flexible sole to help you pivot are advisable.

Finally, bring a huge smile!



Phillip H.
17 September 2014

Phillip H.

I'd love to do it - even as a bloke with two left feet - but am concerned about my dodgy knees. Does anyone know if that matters?

Sasha B.
31 August 2014

Sasha B.

Another Zumba lover here. No class makes me feel so happy afterwards and I am not a naturally brilliant dancer. I would definitely recommend people try it.

Sarah L.
28 August 2014

Sarah L.

I love zumba - it is a mad hour but it is so much fun!

Clare R.
27 August 2014

Clare R.

I've been really hoping this would come up in the '101' series! I think I have the nerve to give it a go now.

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