Zumba combines moves from Latin dance and high-impact aerobics.
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Zumba, a Latin dance workout created by aerobics instructor and celebrity trainer Beto Perez, features Latin dance moves set to Latin music such as salsa, merengue and reggaeton. Zumba classes and DVDs usually last for around an hour, but if you can only fit in 20 minutes of exercise, you can still get a cardio dance workout.
The fundamentals of Zumba include the basic salsa step, in which your knee bends and your hip drops when you step forward. The box step, in which you step forward with one foot at a time and back with one foot at a time, is another common lower-body movement. Arm movements are similar to high-impact aerobics, in which you frequently raise your arms over your head to get a more intense workout. Side-to-side twisting moves help to tone your abdominal muscles.
The Zumba franchise offers a number of variations on the basic dance workout. Zumba Sentao uses a chair as a prop, with toning moves similar to those using a weight bench. Zumba Toning alternates choreography using hand weights -- Zumba sells their own, called toning sticks -- with traditional Zumba dance, usually switching between dance and toning with each song. Zumbini allows parents to work out with their preschool-age children, while Aqua Zumba caters to seniors and those with joint issues.
Zumba Exhilarate Rush
The seven-DVD set Zumba Exhilarate features a 20-minute version of Zumba called Rush. The instructors, Loretta Bates and Kass Martin, follow a quick warm-up with the traditional Latin dance moves of a Zumba class. Squatting and shuffling movements across the floor help get your heart pumping. On days when you don't have time for a full Zumba class or DVD, Rush allows you to get a quick Zumba fix in under half an hour.
Making the Most of a 20-Minute Workout
According to celebrity trainer Jillian Michaels, an effective 20-minute workout starts with high intensity. The music in Zumba Rush is sped up, and you'll probably need to move your body faster than you're used to. Michaels recommends getting your heart rate up to 85 percent of your max and keeping it there throughout the workout. Combining moves to work out multiple body parts at once, another of Michaels' tips, is Zumba's specialty, especially in Sentao or Toning classes, in which you mix Zumba with strength-training moves. Another option for those who have been practicing Zumba for some time and want a 20-minute workout is to create your own circuit workout, in which you combine intense Zumba bursts with weightlifting or resistance-training moves.