The salsa dance is an Afro-Caribbean dancing style that made its way into mainstream U.S. dance culture with its irresistible rhythms. Twists, turns and a whole lot of hip shaking get your core involved more than most dance routines. Salsa can help you burn 200 to 400 calories per hour, depending on the speed of your music, and therefore, your steps. Salsa dancing is fun and sexy, which can boost confidence and make you want to work out more often.
How Does Salsa Work My Abs?
Your obliques are the band of muscles on the side of your abdomen that stretch from your front abs (you know, your six pack!) to your back. Working them hard will help you avoid love handles, improve your posture, and improve the look of your waist, while aiding in your overall core strength and balance.
If you’ve ever seen a professional dancer’s abs, you know what a great workout dancing can provide. Besides blasting calories and being a great cardiovascular workout, your abdominal muscles can get whipped into shape without doing a single boring crunch. In each salsa step, your hips swing from one side to the other, forcing you to keep your core tight. Those hip rolls also work the obliques by stretching and contracting them with every step you take. Therefore, an hour of salsa dancing is essentially an hour-long oblique workout.
If you are just starting a salsa workout, master the hip roll first, which is the way to really target your obliques. There are a number of how-to videos that are available to help you master the step, but the best bet is to take a class with a trained professional. The dance pro will be able to physically manipulate your body if necessary, so you know how the correct form feels. Many classes can be accessed through local community centers, community colleges, or adult schools if you don’t have a professional studio in the area. Once you have mastered the hip roll, you can easily perform the rest of the salsa moves.
Start the moves slowly to master the form completely. You may need to perform 50 hip rolls before you get it right, but concentrate on your form for maximum muscular output. Working the rolls slowly will feel like doing 50 crunches if you focus in on your abs and obliques while you dance. Visualize the obliques contracting on one side and crunching on the other to help you focus.
Above all, have fun. Salsa is a social dance, so once you master the basics, get social. Head to a club or class, and show your stuff!