If there’s one thing that learning the Hoedown Throwdown in middle school taught me, it’s that dance cardio engages your abs like no other exercise. Not only do you end the class with new choreography to throw into your freestyle mix, but you walk away with that fiery feeling in your center, which means your ab muscles just earned some extra strength. DanceBody founder Katia Pryce demonstrates this fact in every class she teaches, so if you’re looking for a dance workout for abs, floss (or waltz or limbo or jitterbug) right this way.
“What’s great about dancing is that you learn to use your core in every movement, even when you’re standing. You can plank and crunch until you’re blue in the face but there’s a lot more to a strong core. Dancers learn how to engage and utilize the entire core in movement, and often hit those underutilized core muscles that other workouts sometimes forget,” Katia Pryce, DanceBody founder previously told Well+Good. Below, you’ll learn just how to move to get those “underutilized” midsection muscles in on the action. Let’s break it down, shall we?
The 6 moves that make this dance workout for abs a winner
1. Forward presses: Bring your feet wide, stretch your arms out into a T-shape, and pull your belly button in toward your spine. Moving to the beat, bring your palms to touch straight in front of you while you lean back and fire up your core. Re-extend your arms into the T-shape and keep it going.
2. Reach backs: In the same stance, engage your abs and squeeze your shoulder blades together so your palms come to touch right behind your low back. Return to your T-shape and keep up this movement, feeling the rhythm as you do.
3. Hip-and-arm side-to-sides: Still in that same stance, come onto your tip-toes and incorporate them into the beat. Swap your hips from right to left. As you use your abs to bring right hips to the right, airplane your right arm down by your hip and point your left fingertips up and to the left. Do the same on the other side and keep alternating. Phew—we’re really moving now.
4. Elbow pulldowns: Extend your fingertips straight out to the left and bend your right arm so that you’re pumping one fist towards the sky. As you pivot and drive your right hip to the right, pump your right fist up and down. Then, if you feel like you can stay on beat, make a lasso shape with your right arm out to the side. This move will hit those right obliques. Switch sides and on the left, as well.
5. Pelvis tucks: Bring both hands to your belly and channel your inner-Elvis to curl your spine as you tuck your pelvis under. Release the pelvis by engaging your glutes and core. Keep going to the beat.
6. Hip box: Place your hands on your hips and move your hips back, to the left, to the front, and to the right side. Remember: You’re going to want to let the strength of your core move the hips here. When you feel comfortable, try this movement in double-time for some extra fire and effort. Now we’re dancing!