Cardio Dance Workouts Explained

You may already dance in front of your mirror or while out with friends on a Saturday night, but trust us, dance cardio classes are a whole other ball game. And if you steered clear because you thought you needed to be a good dancer: think again. Anyone can enjoy a dance cardio class because it’s not about perfectly nailing the moves, it’s about moving your body and getting in a workout (in a fun way). Keep reading for all the must-know terms before heading to a dance cardio class.

What is Cardio Dance?

Cardio dance is an incredibly fun way to get in a workout! You can easily forget that you’re doing cardio and just focus on getting lost in the workout. A cardio dance workout is typically a fast paced dance class focusing on getting the heart rate up with small rest periods.

The class will start with a warmup! A warm up kicks the class off and may include some light cardio, stretches and simple moves to slowly increase the heart rate. An instructor will then walk you through every move and break it down for you slowly. They will work on a sequence piece by piece, before stringing it all together

There is usually a cool down at the end, a portion of class that incorporates stretching, deep breathing and a slowing of the heart rate. There are few breaks taken during cardio dance (which is why this workout is one of the most beneficial classes for burning fat), so relish this time to decompress.

What is a Ball Change in Dance?

A ball change is a common dance move where you place weight onto the ball of one foot, then quickly shift weight back to the other foot.

What is the Beat?

Beat is the time unit of the music you’ll be dancing to during class. This is measured by counts.

What is a Count in Dance?

A count is how you will measure the beats while dancing. Instructors will typically follow an 8-count, which means a grouping of beats adding up to 8. Once your instructor reaches 8, she will start a new grouping at 1. Whole Count: One beat! And count: Half a beat.

You might hear about an eight count, this is the grouping of beats that add up to eigh, then start again. This is the counting system typically used by dancers.

What is a Dance Hold?

A hold is when you stay in place. Your dance instructor may shout something like “left leg, right leg, left leg and hold” where the “and hold” refers to keeping your left leg where it is.

What Does it Mean to “Mark” in Dance?

To mark a dance or combination means to loosely practice the sequence with minimal effort; it’s often used to give a sequence a dry run before doing the entire dance.

What is a Plié?

A plié is a common move which requires a bending of the knees outward with the back held straight.

What is Zumba?

Zumba is a specific type of dance cardio class that is inspired by Latin American dance and is often set to Latin American music. Zumba was popularized in the mid-2000’s and can now be found in almost every state in the US.

Stephanie Limiti is a born and raised New Yorker living out her dreams of palm trees and sunshine in Los Angeles. When she's not zenned out in yoga class, she's reading biographies and volunteering at dog rescue shelter. Follow her on Instagram.