Hip-hop dance for fitness

Getting fit through hip hop dancing

Hip hop dancing encompasses many different street styles, all offering a great way of working out the body through fun and rhythmic exercise. With its popularity quickly increasing outside of the US, here’s our guide on how hip hop dance could set you on course for a healthier and more active lifestyle.

An introduction to hip-hop dancing 

Hip-hop dancing encompasses a wide range of street styles, set to the beats of pounding hip-hop music. Though popping, locking and krumping are all well-known hip-hop workouts, break-dancing and house dancing are also rapidly growing in prominence.

Hip-hop dancing emerged from African-American roots in the 1970s. It is a creative, frequently improvised, style of dance. The hip-hop performer’s body moves in time to a catchy beat, theoretically expressing a wide range of emotions in the process. Defined by the bounding steps, power jumps and even hand-standing of its performers, hip-hop dancing is certainly not an activity for the faint of heart. Regardless, its great health and fitness benefits cannot be ignored.

Key fitness benefits of hip-hop dancing

Hip-hop dancing has many key health and fitness benefits, in addition to those already associated with dance exercise. Benefits of hip-hop dance include the following:

  • Hip-hop dancing helps building up stamina - If you’re struggling to stay the pace in your running exercise, hip-hop dancing could offer an unexpected form of cross-training, to build up your stamina and muscular resistance. Through fun and funky workouts you won’t even notice how long you’ve been dancing for, so why not give hip-hop exercise a try?

  • Hip-hop dancing helps work your heart - With heart disease at an all-time high, there has never been a better time to exercise your pulmonary muscles. Hip-hop dancing is a great form of cardiovascular (CV) exercise and really gets the heart pumping. So what are you waiting for? Get to the heart of the matter with hip-hop ...
  • Hip-hop dancing forges a positive mind - With all the doom and gloom surrounding the credit crunch, it would be easy to lose all faith in the modern world and hide under a rock somewhere. Don’t lose hope just yet though as help could be at hand in the surprise form of hip-hop dancing. Exercise is a great way of keeping your mind in shape and the pleasures of hip-hop dance will soon have you leaping around with aplomb. So banish the blues and get dancing!

  • Burning off calories through hip-hop dancing - With a range of movements required of its participants, hip-hop dancing will soon burn off those unwanted calories in no time. Losing weight doesn’t mean trundling on a treadmill until the end of time. Hip-hop dancing will get you moving, as well as offering an entertaining and highly sociable workout.


Key styles of hip-hop dancing

Having covered the pleasures of popping, krumping and locking in our street dance article, we now turn our attention to a couple of the rising styles of hip-hop dancing: break-dance and house dancing ...

  • Break-dance - Break-dancing is an athletic street style that evolved from the New York hip-hop scene of the early 1970s. Normally set to pop, funk or hip-hop songs, break-dancing includes a combination of energetic jumping, hand walking and expressive bounding. It is an explosive dance style that can see many muscle groups stretched in quick succession.

  • House dancing - As its name suggests, house dancing is traditionally performed in time to house music. However, in recent years it has also become a key style of hip-hop dance, with its improvisational nature and complex foot patterns complementing hip-hop beats. A key house dancing move is the ‘Jack’ which sees the dancer ripple their torso like a wave, repeatedly in time to the music.

What to expect from your first hip-hop dancing class

Many hip-hop dance classes will be run on an informal, drop-in basis with no need to book in advance. Most classes will be suitable for all levels, although double-check that they are beginner-friendly before you go along. Some routines may contain challenging or physically demanding moves so don’t rush into them straight away. Instead, let the instructor guide your workout routines as you build up your progress. With a number of styles and routines to try, you’ll soon find a hip-hop dance that’s perfect for you. Just be prepared to work hard for your fun and you’ll be in hip-hop condition in no time ...

Key hip-hop dancing tips and more information

Although you might be tempted to wear leather trousers, leopard skin hats and mountains of bling to your first hip-hop class, it’s important not to get too carried away. Until you become an all-star performer, adept at every possible move, it’s best to keep things simple and wear the kind of kit you would to most dance classes: basic exercise sportswear and light, dance-ready shoes. It may not be hip, but it’s definitely hip-hop. 

Sources of further hip-hop dancing information include:

  • Hip-hop Dance School One: Learn Hip-Hop Dance (DVD)

  • Dance Off the Inches – Hip-Hop Party (DVD)
  • Simply Funk, Easy-to-Follow Funk & Hip-Hop Dance, with Suzanne DiNunzio (DVD)

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