Is it possible to move your waistline to the bassline in Zumba class and whittle away your midsection? Yes! Zumba has been around since the days of Saved by the Bell. You're probably familiar with this popular, Latin-inspired dance/fitness class and may be a devout fanatic already. Or maybe you've just started your fitness journey and you're thinking about dancing your way into a lean, fit body.
Our advice: DO IT! Zumba is not only an exhilarating and fun workout, but it can also (and most importantly) flatten your abs.
We wanted the skinny on all things Zumba and contacted two instructors from San Antonio: Manny Vasquez, better known as "Magic Manny," and Tremain Linson, better known as "T-Nasty." Their insight on how Zumba can help flatten and reveal your abs is all the info you need to know that this fitness craze is legit.
But losing weight and burning calories aren't everything, and that's why we also spoke with Sarah Chadwell, NASM CPT, to put Zumba into perspective and for advice on additional moves you can pair with your Zumba dances both inside and outside of class for quicker results. Here's what you need to know.
Mas Zumba = Flat Abs
How can regularly attending Zumba classes flatten your abs? T-Nasty told us, "Zumba uses high-intensity interval training with fast songs and periods of slower songs. Interval training has many benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness; it lowers cholesterol and improves insulin sensitivity, all of which will burn that layer of fat covering those abs that we all want to see."
Burning the belly fat is the first step in unveiling abs and flattening your stomach, and Zumba provides the necessary cardio to make the fat sizzle right off. Each class session burns an average of 369 calories, according to one study.
Magic Manny, who's been working his magic for over seven years now, told POPSUGAR, "Zumba is a fun and effective way to burn belly fat, as long as you do it often. It is recommended that you get 2.5 to five hours or more of cardiovascular exercise each week for the most health and fat-loss benefits. Therefore, you should take at least three Zumba classes each week."
Personal Trainer Tip:
Chadwell told POPSUGAR, "Zumba is chock-full of gyrating, twisting, and other strong movements that stem from the hips, so you are essentially working your entire core every session. One way to enhance core tightening is to continuously brace your abs while you are dancing."
Instead of letting your stomach hang out or jiggle around while you are dancing, draw your belly button in toward your spine. Hold for as long as you can, release, and hold again as often as you can throughout dance class. This will help tighten your actual stomach muscles while you are burning fat.
The Majority of Zumba Moves Stem From the Core
Watch almost any video of Zumba and you'll quickly realize that almost all of the movements begin with the core. You'll see oblique twists, belly rolling with hands in the air, knee to elbow lifts, and hip rotating. All of these movements strengthen, flatten, and tone your entire midsection.
If you have difficulty bracing throughout an hourlong class, Chadwell told POPSUGAR, "Resistance and bodyweight training are what shape your muscles. If you want a truly flat stomach, you should complete abdominal exercises outside of class."
Here's an ab workout from Chadwell that you can try:
- Planks: 3 sets — hold at least 30 seconds, but push for up to a minute
- Crunches: 3 sets — 15-20 repetitions
- Bird-Dog: 3 sets — 10 repetitions on each side
- Leg Raises: 3 sets — 10-15 repetitions
Magic Manny has one more tip for additional belly tightening. "Working with your doctor/nutritionist can help you create a plan for burning belly fat that takes into account your specific calorie needs and how many calories you need to burn each day. With that info in hand, you can decide how much Zumba you need to do each week to lose your belly fat," he said.